The Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Jo Swinson, has today launched a bid to reform shared parental leave, including requiring the Government to make shared parental leave a day one right.

The former Employment Relations Minister, who first introduced shared parental leave four years ago this week, said “shared parental leave is good for children, good for families” but warned a government review and improvements are overdue.

The Liberal Democrat MP, who herself has used shared parental leave over the last year, is therefore introducing a new Private Member’s Bill which she is calling on Ministers to back.

To mark the bid, Jo Swinson will host a roundtable with dads today to discuss the benefits of shared parental leave and the pressure on many dads not to take it.

Jo Swinson said:

“Shared parental leave is good for children, good for families and good for equality in the workplace. We have made a lot of progress, but too many parents and children are missing out.

“Shared parental leave should be a day one right for all workers, just as maternity leave is, and be extended to self-employed dads. And to better support families of all sizes and shapes, the right to request flexible working must also be a day one right.

“Employers should also put their money where their mouth is. If they’re serious about being more family-friendly, then they must enhance shared parental pay in the same way they do for maternity pay.

“If the Conservatives were not bogged down in their own Brexit mess, then they could have delivered these changes already. Lucky for them, the hard work is done, and all Ministers need to do is back my Bill. Parents are watching.”

Jo Swinson is calling for an urgent review of shared parental leave and demanding the Government plug the childcare gap between 9 months and two years. The Bill includes: 

  • Introducing shared parental leave from the first day in a new job and extend to self-employed persons.
  • Introducing the right to request flexible working from the first day in a new job.

The long and short title of the Bill can be found below.

Employment Rights (Shared Parental Leave and Flexible Working)
Bill to entitle employees to request shared parental leave and flexible working on the first day of employment; to make provision for self-employed persons to take shared parental leave; and for connected purposes.

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