Green Party Women

Greens reject coalition plans to reduce maternity leave

8 August 2011

The Green Party has expressed deep concerns for the Government's proposed plans to cut the statutory maternity leave of new mothers to just 18 weeks.

The proposed changes are coming about as part of a system to promote shared parenting and increase the flexibility in which people can take up maternity leave.

Government statistics show that nearly 60 per cent of working mothers receive contractual maternity pay above the statutory minimum, and 83 per cent of these get maternity pay for 26 weeks, and the planned changes represented, as the TUC has highlighted, a threat to this. (1)

Green Party London Assembly candidate, Natalie Bennett, who is also chair of Green Party Women, said: "While the Green Party is strongly in favour of measures to increase paternity leave, and the take-up of it, this should not be at the expense of maternity leave.

"London's Green MEP Jean Lambert has been fighting for a Europe-wide minimum of 20 weeks leave, and Britain should be leading on this issue, not trying to slice away at provisions for families. (2)

"This is just one more step by the coalition government that will harm the economic position of women.

"After the 2010 emergency budget under which 72% of the cuts were borne by women, and the 2011 budget that the Institute for Fiscal Studies found would hit single mothers hardest, reducing their income by 8.5% by 2015, this is one more blow to women's lives, and to British family life."




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