Green Party Women

Green Party adopts stand-out parental leave policy

24 February 2010

  The chair of Green Party women, Natalie Bennett, has welcomed the strong backing received from the Green Party conference, held in Finchley last weekend, for a new child-friendly parental leave policy that encourages the involvement of all parents in child-rearing.

The policy provides for one month leave for the month after the birth for both parents, then for a further total of 22 months of leave. This must be split, with at least one parent taking a minimum of six months, otherwise the entitlement is lost. Single parents can take the full length of leave.

All of this is to be paid at 90% of parental salary, up to a reasonable level of salary.

Natalie proposed the motion to conference in her role as chair of the Green Party Women group.

She said: “I'm delighted that the Green Party now has a standout parental leave policy that far out-strips anything offered by the other parties.

“We recognise that parenting is a arduous task, and that in our overstretched society, parents need a helping hand so that, if they

choose, they are able to devote significant stretches of time and attention to the task.

“Other parties are merely offering statutory pay levels for maternity and paternity leave, but we all know that many parents cannot afford to live for long on £120 per week.”

Natalie added: “I'm also pleased that the policy encourages two parents to be involved in the day-to-day care of the young child. The policy is constructed to encourage fathers to be more closely involved in childcare. In Sweden, where there is a similar policy, a quarter of fathers are now taking significant stretches of paternity leave. With the likelihood of both parents taking leave, this should also help to reduce the discrimination against women in the workplace."

Natalie concluded: “The Green Party recognises that this could be costly for small firms, and has allowed for their payments to be met  from taxation. The cost to parents of rearing children – an average of £200,000 to the age of 21* -- is extremely high, and it is only fair that society meet some of the costs.”

* Note: Calculated by the LV friendly society, see

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