Minister pledges to extend paid maternity leave

The Government is looking to extend paid maternity leave to a year as a part of its election manifesto, according to trade and industry secretary Patricia Hewitt. 

Talking to the Independent, Hewitt said: “We are looking at extending maternity pay and how quickly we can do that. It will feature highly in the manifesto with which we fight the next election.”

She added that Government improvements to maternity pay and fathers rights had made a real difference to families. Maternity pay has increased from 18 weeks to 26.

The Government is also considering proposals to offer two weeks’ paid paternity leave at 90 per cent of full salary, although the Government said this was not a firm proposal at this stage. Paternity pay is currently just over £100 per week.

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