Liberal Democrat plans for parental leave will support families and lift up economy

11 Jun 2024
Wendy Chamberlain

Scottish Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader Wendy Chamberlain today said that the party’s plans to transform parental leave in Scotland and the rest of the UK would increase choice and flexibility for families during the all-important first year with their child.

The North East Fife candidate was joined by candidate for Edinburgh West Christine Jardine during a campaign visit to a cookery school in Edinburgh, the Liberal Democrat candidates explained that these plans would be a "key ingredient” in helping families and lifting up the economy.

Liberal Democrats would:

  • Double statutory maternity pay to £350 a week;
  • Increase paternity pay to 90% of earnings;
  • Create a new use-it-or-lose-it ‘dad month’ of paid leave for fathers, paid at 90% of earnings;
  • Make all parental pay and leave day-one rights and extend them to self-employed parents.    

Currently, low rates of statutory maternity and paternity pay don't offer parents flexibility, while the UK's two weeks of statutory paternity leave lags far behind most advanced economies. 

Ms Chamberlain said:

“Millions of parents are being denied the choice to spend more time at home during that all-important first year with their child because the UK still lags behind other countries on shared parental leave.

“Many mothers and fathers are being forced back to work early because they simply can’t afford to take more time off.

“Not only would our plans provide much-need support to families, they would also boost our economy by driving down the gender pay gap and helping parents return to work if they want to.  

“Our proposals would overhaul parental leave to offer families real flexibility, giving them a genuine choice over how to manage things in the first months of their child’s life.”

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