Government announces new ministerial maternity leave law change

Government announces new ministerial maternity leave law change

The government announces a new law update to formalise the process for ministerial maternity leave.

The maternity law update came about so that the attorney general, Suella Braverman, can take six month maternity leave.

The government’s chief law officer, Suella Braver, announced late last year that she was expecting her second child “early next year”, making her one of the most senior government ministers to give birth in office.

Under current laws, she would have to resign if she wanted to take time off following the birth – but the Ministerial and other Maternity Allowances Bill will allow cabinet ministers to receive up to six months’ leave on full pay.

Legislation from way back in the 1970s has meant that the prime minister would not normally have the flexibility to pay a cabinet minister maternity leave and pay the person who would temporarily take their position until they returned.

Currently, only those in more junior government roles and civil service are paid maternity leave but the bill would allow Ms Braverman and other cabinet ministers to take six months’ leave on full pay.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said his party would back the bill, adding the change “should have been brought in a long time ago”.

The party’s shadow cabinet office minister, Rachel Reeves, said the measures were a “small but significant step forward” but the government needed to go further and make provision for paternity, adoption and shared parental leave.

Introducing the new measures in a written statement, the prime minister said:

“The choice between taking leave to recover from childbirth and care for a new-born child or resigning from office is not acceptable in modern times.”

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