Closed petition Extend maternity leave by 3 months with pay in light of COVID-19

In light of the recent outbreak and lock down, those on maternity leave should be given 3 extra months paid leave, at least. This time is for bonding and social engaging with other parents and babies through baby groups which are vital for development and now everything has been cancelled.

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These groups are vital for baby development, bonding and educating both babies and parents. Given that the government have closed down many areas of the community new parents and babies are confined to their homes with no social interaction which will ultimately impact on the development of children.

We are calling on Boris Johnson and the government to extend paid maternity leave by an additional 3 months, at least to allow for this development and bonding to take place.

This petition is closed All petitions run for 6 months

238,884 signatures

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Parliament debated this topic

This topic was debated on 5 October 2020

Watch the petition 'Extend maternity leave by 3 months with pay in light of COVID-19' being debated

Government responded

This response was given on 14 May 2020

The UK’s Maternity Leave offer is already amongst the most generous in the World – up to 52 weeks of leave are available, 39 weeks of which are paid – and we currently have no plans to extend it.

Read the response in full

During this difficult time for the country, we recognise the disruption the necessary actions are having on people’s lives, their businesses, their jobs and the nation’s economy

That is why the Government has put in place unprecedented support for public services, workers and businesses to protect against the current economic emergency. This includes the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme that helps protect people’s jobs and helps employers to still provide important benefits such as enhanced contractual maternity pay.

We have made regulations to ensure women will not lose out on Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) should they be affected by a period of furlough pay. The regulations require employers to calculate SMP on normal earnings rather than reduced pay. It is also possible for employers to offer furlough pay at the end of a woman’s maternity leave and pay period, in effect extending the period a woman is away from work.

We understand that the social distancing measures mean that there are limited opportunities for parents to participate in activities normally available, such as parent and baby groups or introducing their newborn to family friends. This is regrettable but necessary to help safeguard the health of individuals, including other new mothers and babies.

Maternity Leave and Pay are provided to enable employed women to take time off work in the later stages of their pregnancy and after they have given birth. In addition, the UK’s Maternity Leave offer is already amongst the most generous in the world, with up to 52 weeks leave available and 39 weeks of pay. Therefore, we currently have no plans to extend Maternity Leave.

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

Other parliamentary business

Petitions Committee to put concerns about impact of lockdown on parents and babies to the Government

The Petitions Committee will be questioning the Government on the impact of coronavirus on those on parental leave in an upcoming online evidence session. More details will be announced shortly.

This session continues the Committee’s ongoing inquiry into the Government’s response to Coronavirus. The Committee’s questions to the Government have been informed by unprecedented levels of engagement from petitioners and other members of the public on this issue, particularly the impacts on maternal mental health, childcare and maternity leave. Thousands of petitioners have completed our surveys which have helped the Committee to understand the issues petitioners are facing, and it is very grateful for everyone’s contributions.

One of our surveys, which received over 12,000 responses, found that 78% of respondents have been unable to find and secure suitable childcare to allow them to return to work. 81% told us they were considering delaying their return to work as a result, with 80% of these being offered no options at all to extend their leave by their employer. Many of you reported using your annual leave allowance to delay your return, but some noted this would prevent them taking any further holiday once lockdown conditions had been lifted.

You can read a summary of what petitioners told us about their experiences here: https://committees.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/5350/default/.

A separate survey found that less than 3% of nurseries felt they would be able to reopen with the same capacity as before, with nearly 7% believing they would not be able to reopen at all in light of the current coronavirus crisis. In the survey, which was sent to childcare providers and employees who had signed relevant petitions, over 70% of providers said they either disagreed or strongly disagreed with the UK Government’s plans to reopen from 1 June.

This information helped the Committee when questioning experts on the impact of lockdown on maternal mental health, access to childcare, and maternity pay on 21 May. You can watch this session and read the transcript here: https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/326/petitions-committee/news/146495/petitions-committee-questioned-experts-on-maternal-mental-health-adoption-and-childcare/

These recent surveys were used to dig deeper into issues first raised in the Committee’s evidence session on the extension of maternity leave on 7 May. Ahead of that session, the Committee had received over 27,000 responses to a survey of petitioners, and over 25,000 responses to a Facebook post- a record for the House of Commons Facebook page. You can find more information about the first session here: https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/326/petitions-committee/news/146332/petitions-committee-investigate-the-impact-of-coronavirus-on-students-and-on-maternity-leave/

Chair of the Petitions Committee, Catherine McKinnell MP said:

“The Petitions Committee has seen unprecedented levels of engagement on maternal mental health, childcare and maternity leave with tens of thousands of people sharing their views and concerns. The Coronavirus is having a huge impact on families in many different ways and hearing personal stories and feedback is informing our inquiry and allowing us to better understand why people are signing these petitions.

“The evidence we collect drives the direction of our inquiries and ensures that we are challenging the Government on these issues effectively. We will be holding our next evidence session on this topic later this month, where we will question Government Ministers and hold them to account on this very issue.

“The Petitions Committee is determined to continue to investigate the impact COVID-19 is having on all communities. As Members of Parliament, we will continue to collect evidence, press for answers, and scrutinise the Government’s response as our country continues to fight this pandemic.”

What is the Petitions Committee?
The Petitions Committee is a cross-party group of MPs that considers e-petitions submitted on Parliament’s petitions website and public (paper) petitions presented to the House of Commons.
It's a cross-party committee and is independent of the Government.

You can get updates on their work by following the Committee on Twitter
@HoCpetitions or on their website: https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/326/petitions-committee/

This is a ‘select committee’. Find out how Select Committees work:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_2RDuDs44c

Find out more about how petitions work:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VGEOraE08Jk&feature=youtu.be

Petitions Committee investigates the impact of COVID-19 on maternity leave

On Thursday 7 May, the Petitions Committee is holding two formal oral evidence sessions on coronavirus. The first of these will look at calls for the extension of paid maternity leave in light of the outbreak, prompted by a petition you signed. These sessions form part of the Committee’s ongoing inquiry into COVID-19.

Watch the session live from 2.30pm on Thursday: https://youtu.be/TOFPLeE7dqQ

In advance of the sessions, the Petitions Committee asked those who has signed the petitions to share their experiences, with a record number of replies. The Committee is very grateful to all those who shared their views.

The session on maternity leave will run from 14:30-15:30 and will focus on a petition to extend maternity leave by three months with pay in light of COVID-19, which has received over 200,000 signatures.

Read more about these sessions: https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/326/petitions-committee/news/146332/petitions-committee-investigate-the-impact-of-coronavirus-on-students-and-on-maternity-leave/

The evidence sessions, which will be led by Petitions Committee Chair Catherine McKinnell MP, will explore the overarching issues raised by these petitions and will help the Committee better understand these issues and inform their constructive scrutiny of the Government on behalf of petitioners.

The evidence session will start be broadcast live on Thursday 7 May from 14:30 here https://youtu.be/TOFPLeE7dqQ

This can be a particularly stressful time for new and expectant parents. If you are struggling, or if you just need more information, some of the links below may be useful:

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, of which The Duchess is Patron, have worked with the Royal College of Midwives and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health to develop national clinical guidance on coronavirus and pregnancy for healthcare professionals, in addition to advice and information for pregnant women and their families. The information can be found here: https://www.rcog.org.uk/coronavirus-pregnancy

The Institute of Health Visiting (iHV) were also represented on the call and alongside GPs are the only health professionals who routinely see all families from pregnancy to when the youngest child goes to school. iHV have an area on their website which includes a section on Parenting through COVID-19. It can be found here: https://ihv.org.uk/families/parenting- through-coronavirus-covid-19

A further list of support services for new and expectant mothers and their families can be found here: https://www.bestbeginnings.org.uk/charities-uk-support

What is the Petitions Committee?

The Petitions Committee is a cross-party group of MPs that considers e-petitions submitted on Parliament’s petitions website and public (paper) petitions presented to the House of Commons. It is independent of the Government.

You can get updates on their work by following the Committee on Twitter
@HoCpetitions or on their
website: https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/326/petitions-committee/

This is a ‘select committee’. Find out how Select Committees work:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_2RDuDs44c

Find out more about how petitions work:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VGEOraE08Jk&feature=youtu.be

Petitions Committee holds a formal evidence session on Covid-19 and maternity leave

We emailed people who had signed this petition by 30 April to ask you to share your experiences of maternity leave during lockdown.

Thank you to everyone who took part in this survey - we received over 24,000 responses altogether, as well as around 25,000 comments on a House of Commons Facebook post.

Your responses informed the questions the Petitions Committee then put to petitioners and experts in a formal evidence session last Thursday 7 May.

Watch Catherine McKinnell MP, Chair of the Committee, express her thanks to everyone who completed the survey: https://youtu.be/B4gEdBXcgz0

The session was really useful in helping the Committee better understand the concerns and challenges of people on leave during this time, and to help inform the next steps in the Committee's ongoing inquiry into the Government's response to coronavirus.

Watch the full session on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TOFPLeE7dqQ

Find out more about the session, read the public engagement summaries and transcript here: https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/326/petitions-committee/news/146332/petitions-committee-investigate-the-impact-of-coronavirus-on-students-and-on-maternity-leave/

We’ll email you again to let you know when we receive the written response to this petition from the Government, and about any more action the Committee takes.

This can be a particularly stressful time for new and expectant parents. If you are struggling, or if you just need more information, some of the links below may be useful:

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, of which The Duchess is Patron, have worked with the Royal College of Midwives and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health to develop national clinical guidance on coronavirus and pregnancy for healthcare professionals, in addition to advice and information for pregnant women and their families. The information can be found here: https://www.rcog.org.uk/coronavirus-pregnancy

The Institute of Health Visiting (iHV) were also represented on the call and alongside GPs are the only health professionals who routinely see all families from pregnancy to when the youngest child goes to school. iHV have an area on their website which includes a section on Parenting through COVID-19. It can be found here: https://ihv.org.uk/families/parenting-through-coronavirus-covid-19

A further list of support services for new and expectant mothers and their families can be found here: https://www.bestbeginnings.org.uk/charities-uk-support

Who are we?
We are the House of Commons Petitions Committee. We are a cross-party group of MPs that looks at e-petitions submitted on petition.parliament.uk. We are independent from Government. You can find out more about us and our work on our website: https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/326/petitions-committee/

You can follow the Petitions Committee on Twitter: @HoCpetitions.

Further information
You can read impartial House of Commons Library information about coronavirus here: https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/coronavirus/

You can find out more about coronavirus and how you can protect yourself and others here:

www.gov.uk/coronavirus

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

The Government has also created an online service to help you out what you can do if you’re struggling because of coronavirus: https://www.gov.uk/find-coronavirus-support

You can read NHS tips to help if you are worried about coronavirus here: https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/coronavirus-covid-19-anxiety-tips

Watch the Petitions Committee question the Government on maternity leave and pay on YouTube

Tomorrow, Thursday 11 June at 2.30pm, the Petitions Committee will question Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Labour Markets, Paul Scully MP.

Watch the session live:
YouTube: https://youtu.be/ljZyh73pKjE
Parliamentlive.TV: https://parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/5859f062-7772-40c3-83c5-055ae87df55d

Read the petition: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/306691

Find out more: https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/326/petitions-committee/news/146749/petitions-committee-to-question-the-government-on-maternity-leave-and-pay-after-unprecedented-public-engagement/

Petitions Committee Chair calls for urgent action from Government

Petitions Committee Chair Catherine McKinnell MP has written to a Government minister to implore the Government to recognise the urgency of the effect of COVID-19 on maternity leave and new parents, and to respond to the Committee’s recent landmark report on the critical issue ‘before it’s too late’.

Responding to the Government’s failure to respond to the report before Summer Recess, she urges the Minister to consider immediate action on several recommendations put forward by the Committee, and asks that the Government responds to the Committee’s report as soon as possible. The letter highlights that the issues raised in the Committee’s report have had a profound impact on parents now, with many being unable to wait until the autumn for a response.

Read the full letter here: https://committees.parliament.uk/publications/2249/documents/20688/default/

You can read the letter from Paul Scully MP, Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Labour Markets here: https://committees.parliament.uk/publications/2186/documents/20153/default/

Petitions Committee report on ‘Impact of Covid-19 on maternity and paternal leave’ to be published

We will be publishing our report on the Impact of Covid-19 on maternity and paternal leave this Monday 6 July. This report is a result of our inquiry prompted by petitions on this issue, including the one you signed.

The report will set out the evidence we have heard from petitioners, experts, and Government Ministers, and will make recommendations on the actions we feel the Government needs to take to address the impact of Covid-19 on new and adoptive parents and their children, and the childcare sector.

We will update you again on Monday with a direct link to the report.

Petitions Committee report on ‘Impact of Covid-19 on maternity and paternal leave’ published

We have published our report on the Impact of Covid-19 on maternity and paternal leave. This report is a result of our inquiry into this petition.

The report sets out the evidence we have heard from petitioners, experts, and Government Ministers, and recommends a number of actions we feel the Government needs to take to address the impact of Covid-19 on new and adoptive parents and their children, and the childcare sector.

In the report we back the request of this petition and call for the Government to consider extending parental leave and pay for the duration of the Covid-19 crisis. Other recommendations include calls for the Government to:

• publish clear new guidance for employees and employers on supporting pregnant employees and those returning from parental leave that explains clearly their options and responsibilities
• consider extending the period in which pregnant women and new parents may bring claims before the employment tribunal to 6 months from dismissal in light of current challenges posed by Covid-19
• extend maternity dentist provision for new and expectant mothers affected by the pandemic for at least six months
• review the provision of health visitor services in light of Covid-19 and consider funding increased numbers of health visitors and other allied professionals, to ensure that vulnerable families are identified and given the support they need

Read a summary of the report and our recommendations (5 min read, available from 8am): https://houseofcommons.shorthandstories.com/how-has-maternity-and-parental-leave-been-impacted-by-coronavirus-/index.html

Read the full report: https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm5801/cmselect/cmpetitions/526/52602.htm

Share your experiences of maternity leave during the coronavirus outbreak

The Petitions Committee (the group of MPs who oversee the petitions system) are investigating the issues that this petition raises.

They’d like to hear more about why you signed this petition and your views and experiences of this issue.

You can share your views and experiences in this short survey: https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/00QLUB/

They’d like to hear from you ideally by Monday 4 May 2020. Your answers will help them to understand the issues people are facing and what questions MPs need to ask the Government. They might publish some or all of your responses, or read them out when they’re asking questions in a public Committee meeting or in the House of Commons. So please don’t share any personal information that you don’t want to be public.

The Committee will be questioning representatives of parents, baby groups, health visitors and child development experts in the next week or so about this issue. We'll email you again to let you know more information and how you can watch the session online shortly. 

What is the Petitions Committee?

The Petitions Committee is a cross-party group of MPs that considers e-petitions submitted on Parliament’s petitions website and public (paper) petitions presented to the House of Commons. It is independent of the Government.

You can get updates on their work by following the Committee on Twitter
@HoCpetitions or on their
website: https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/326/petitions-committee/

This is a ‘select committee’. Find out how Select Committees work:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_2RDuDs44c

Find out more about how petitions work:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VGEOraE08Jk&feature=youtu.be

Petitions Committee disappointed that Government has failed to respond urgently to report

Chair of the Petitions Committee, Catherine McKinnell MP has criticised the Government for failing to meet the Committee’s request to respond urgently to its report on the impact of Covid-19 on maternity and parental leave, which was published earlier this month.

In a letter published on 29 July from Paul Scully MP, Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Labour Markets, the Government stated that a response to the Report from his department would not be possible before the House rose for Summer Recess on 22 July due to the need for careful consideration of recommendations and for discussions with counterparts in other relevant departments.

You can read the letter here: https://committees.parliament.uk/publications/2186/documents/20153/default/

Read the Chair’s full comment here: https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/326/petitions-committee/news/147629/petitions-committee-chair-disappointed-in-governments-failure-to-respond-urgently-to-report-on-the-impact-of-covid19-on-maternity-and-parental-leave/

Share your experiences and concerns about finding childcare and returning to work

The Petitions Committee (the group of MPs who oversee the petitions system) are continuing to investigate the impact of the outbreak on new parents. The Government has now given a written response to the petition, but the Committee's inquiry doesn't end there.

The Committee previously asked about people's experiences of maternity leave during the pandemic, and heard about the many challenges facing new parents, including concerns about mental health, child development, and family bonding.

In our last survey, many of you told us that finding suitable childcare and preparing to return to work is a big concern, so we'd like to ask you more about that ahead of the next session.

You can share your views and experiences via this short survey: https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/CHRADM/

They’d like to hear from you ideally by Monday 18 May 2020. Your answers will help them to understand the issues people are facing and the options currently available, and what questions MPs need to ask the Government. They might publish some or all of your responses, or read them out when they’re asking questions in a public Committee meeting or in the House of Commons. So please don’t share any personal information that you don’t want to be public.

The Committee will be questioning a number of witnesses in the coming weeks, including representatives of childcare providers. We'll email you again to let you know more information and how you can watch the sessions. 

What is the Petitions Committee?

The Petitions Committee is a cross-party group of MPs that considers e-petitions submitted on Parliament’s petitions website and public (paper) petitions presented to the House of Commons.
It's a cross-party committee and is independent of the Government.

You can get updates on their work by following the Committee on Twitter
@HoCpetitions or on their
website: https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/326/petitions-committee/

This is a ‘select committee’. Find out how Select Committees work:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_2RDuDs44c

Find out more about how petitions work:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VGEOraE08Jk&feature=youtu.be

Petitions Committee to hold evidence session to examine parental leave and maternal mental health

The Petitions Committee (the group of MPs who oversee the petitions system) have scheduled a virtual evidence session on Thursday 21 May at 9.30am on the urgent crisis of maternal mental health in lockdown and the impact of the virus on access to childcare. It will also look at the impact on adoption leave.

Watch the session live: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SqMKtR-pt0A

Ahead of the session, the Committee asked petitioners to share their experiences on childcare and returning to work. Thank you to all of those who completed the surveys. Your feedback will help inform the Committee's ongoing work on this subject.

On Thursday the Committee will hear from:

  • Alain Gregoire, Chair, Maternal Mental Health Alliance

  • Dr Trudi Seneviratne OBE, Chair of the Royal College of Psychiatrists Faculty of Perinatal Psychiatry

  • Josie Anderson, Campaigns and Policy Manager, Bliss

  • Sue Armstrong Brown, Chief Executive, Adoption UK

  • Neil Leitch, Chief Executive, Early Years Alliance

The Committee has also received written evidence on this issue from organisations and individuals. You can read them here: https://committees.parliament.uk/work/192/the-governments-response-to-coronavirus/publications/written-evidence/

What is the Petitions Committee?

The Petitions Committee is a cross-party group of MPs that considers e-petitions submitted on Parliament’s petitions website and public (paper) petitions presented to the House of Commons. It is independent of the Government.

You can get updates on their work by following the Committee on Twitter

@HoCpetitions or on their website: https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/326/petitions-committee/

This is a ‘select committee’. Find out how Select Committees work:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_2RDuDs44c

Find out more about how petitions work:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VGEOraE08Jk&feature=youtu.be

Petitions Committee to publish Government response to its report on impact of Covid-19 on maternity

The Petitions Committee has received the Government's response to its report on the Impact of Covid-19 on maternity and parental leave, which was prompted by this petition.

Read the response here from 00:01 on Wednesday 9 September: https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm5801/cmselect/cmpetitions/770/77002.htm.

Petitions Committee hears from experts about maternal mental health and childcare during covid-19

This week the Petitions Committee heard about the impact of coronavirus on maternal mental health, the experiences of parents with babies in neonatal care, the impact on adopted children and adoption leave, and accessing childcare during the pandemic.

You can catch watch the session or read a transcript of the meeting here:

Watch the session: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SqMKtR-pt0A
Read the transcript: https://committees.parliament.uk/oralevidence/408/default/

Ahead of the session, the Committee asked petitioners to share their experiences on childcare and returning to work. Thank you again to all of those who took part.

Read a summary of what petitioners told us about childcare and returning to work during coronavirus: https://committees.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/5350/default/

Read a summary of what petitioners told us about the impact of coronavirus on maternity leave: https://committees.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/4258/default/

The Committee has also received written evidence on this issue from organisations and individuals. You can read them here: https://committees.parliament.uk/work/192/the-governments-response-to-coronavirus/publications/written-evidence/

The Petitions Committee are continuing to investigate the impact of the outbreak on new parents. We'll email you again to let you know about what will happen next. 

What is the Petitions Committee?

The Petitions Committee is a cross-party group of MPs that considers e-petitions submitted on Parliament’s petitions website and public (paper) petitions presented to the House of Commons. The Committee can schedule debates, hold in-depth inquiries, and press the Government for action on petitions. It is independent of the Government.

You can get updates on their work by following the Committee on Twitter
@HoCpetitions or on their website: https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/326/petitions-committee/

This is a ‘select committee’. Find out how Select Committees work:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_2RDuDs44c

Find out more about how petitions work:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VGEOraE08Jk&feature=youtu.be

Petitions Committee to question the Government on maternity leave and pay on Thursday 11 June

The Petitions Committee will hold a virtual evidence session on Thursday 11 June at 14:30 to question Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Labour Markets, Paul Scully MP.

Watch the session live here: https://parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/5859f062-7772-40c3-83c5-055ae87df55d

This session will see the Petitions Committee question the Minister on crucial issues regarding maternity leave and pay raised by petitioners and experts as the UK enters its 12th week since lockdown began. This is the latest in a series of sessions prompted by a petition calling on the Government to extend maternity leave by 3 months with pay in light of COVID-19, which has received over 224,000 signatures to date.

Read the petition: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/306691.

Chair of the Petitions Committee, Catherine McKinnell MP, will lead the session, where Members of Parliament will put questions to the Minister on overarching issues raised by petitioners and experts since the start of the pandemic. This evidence will inform the Committee’s report on this issue, which will recommend actions the Government should take to address petitioners’ concerns.

Find out more: https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/326/petitions-committee/news/146749/petitions-committee-to-question-the-government-on-maternity-leave-and-pay-after-unprecedented-public-engagement/

Update on Petitions Committee’s work on parental leave and covid-19

Last week, the Petitions Committee held its final oral evidence session, questioning Business Minister Paul Scully MP, on the impact of coronavirus on those on parental leave and the Government’s response to the petition.

You can watch the session here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ljZyh73pKjE&feature=youtu.be
Find out more here: https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/326/petitions-committee/news/146749/petitions-committee-has-questioned-the-government-on-maternity-leave-and-pay-after-unprecedented-public-engagement/

The session came just two days after the Government’s decision to extend the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) cut-off date for those returning from leave after 10 June, but as thousands of you have shared with the Committee through surveys or online posts there are still many challenges facing new parents, and many who have no options to extend their leave.

Read more about eligibility for the CJRS: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-which-employees-you-can-put-on-furlough-to-use-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

Next steps
The Committee will now produce a report, bringing together everything you have shared with us, the evidence of everyone who has appeared in virtual sessions, and the charities and support groups who have given written submissions.
The Committee will report its findings and make recommendations to the Government, who will then need to respond and decide whether and how to act on them.

The Committee understands the urgency of this issue for all of the parents who have signed this petition and engaged with the inquiry, and is working hard to publish this as soon as possible. You will receive another update as soon as the release date is confirmed.

In the meantime, you can contact your local MP to encourage them to put pressure on the Government on your behalf. Find their contact details here: https://members.parliament.uk/FindYourMP

Once again, the Committee would like to thank everyone who has shared their experiences. This information has been vital in informing the work of the Committee so far, and will directly inform our recommendations to the Government.

Petitions Committee agrees to debate petitions on maternity and parental leave on 5 October

The Petitions Committee has agreed to debate this petition on Monday 5 October in Westminster Hall, so MPs can scrutinise the Government's response to its report on the Impact of Covid-19 on maternity and parental leave.

The re-opening of Westminster Hall for debates is subject to the agreement of the House of Commons, so this date is subject to change.

The debate follows the publication of the Government's response, which rejects most of the report's recommendations aimed at lessening the impact of the pandemic on new parents.

Find out more, including reaction from Committee Chair Catherine McKinnell MP: https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/326/petitions-committee/news/117406/committee-express-disappointment-at-government-response-to-its-report-on-impact-of-covid19-on-maternity-and-parental-leave/

Petitions Committee Chair challenges Prime Minister on Government response to maternity report

Petitions Committee Chair Catherine McKinnell MP has put petitioners' concerns to Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Watch the session here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mv8SXHGIgWQ

Joining the Liaison Committee, a cross-party group of select committee Chairs, Ms McKinnell asked the Prime Minister about:

  • The Government's response to the Committee's report on the impact of Covid-19 on maternity and parental leave
  • The inclusion of children in new social distancing rules, and the implications for families and childcare settings
  • Access to Covid-19 testing

The Petitions Committee will be writing to the Prime Minister to follow-up on his commitment to consider the report's recommendations, and plan to debate the report and the Government's response on 5 October in Westminster Hall.

Follow us on Twitter for updates on our work on these issues: https://www.twitter.com/hocpetitions

Petitions Committee announces debate on maternity petition and writes to the Prime Minister

Following the announcement yesterday that Westminster Hall would reopen after its closure in March, the Petitions Committee has scheduled a debate on the impact of Covid-19 on maternity and parental leave on the day it reopens. This will take place on Monday 5 October from 4:30pm and Catherine McKinnell MP, Chair of the Committee, will open the debate.

Petitioners will be able to watch the debate online here: https://www.parliamentlive.tv/Guide

You may wish to contact your MP to ask them to speak in the debate: https://members.parliament.uk/FindYourMP

Following his appearance in front of the Liaison Committee last week, where the Chair asked him about the Government’s response to the maternity report, the Committee has written to the Prime Minister to ask him to read the report and respond before the debate.

You can read the letter here: https://committees.parliament.uk/publications/2698/documents/26693/default/

Watch the Chair question the Prime Minister at the Liaison Committee session here: https://youtu.be/mv8SXHGIgWQ?t=1815

The Committee has also written again to Paul Scully MP, Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Labour Markets, to ask for an update on his department’s plans for meeting with representatives of the baby group sector. In the letter, the Committee highlights how the new restrictions on meetings of more than six people have caused further confusion to this sector, and requests urgent clarification.

You can read the letter here: https://committees.parliament.uk/publications/2699/documents/26695/default/

Follow the Committee on Twitter for updates on our work on this issue and others: https://www.twitter.com/hocpetitions

Petitions Committee publishes further written evidence from charities and childcare sector

The Petitions Committee has published additional written evidence from charities and representatives of the childcare sector, in light of the Government's response to its report on the impact of Covid-19 on maternity and parental leave.

Read it here: https://committees.parliament.uk/work/192/the-governments-response-to-coronavirus/publications/written-evidence/
Read the response from Maternity Action: https://maternityaction.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/Crisis-what-crisis-Sept-2020.pdf

The Committee has scheduled a debate on this petition for 5 October, when MPs will discuss the report and the Government's response. Watch the 90 minute debate live on YouTube from 4.30pm: https://youtu.be/dA4DoukYuXo

Maternity petition – Message from the Chair of Petitions Committee

Following Monday’s debate on this petition, the Chair of the Petitions Committee, Catherine McKinnell MP, has recorded a personal message for you and all those who signed this petition.

Watch the message here: https://youtu.be/1lP3u_NM62M

Throughout the Committee’s inquiry, petitioners have shared their personal stories to inform this work. Thank you once again to everyone who took part in surveys and shared their experiences with us.

Watch the debate on UK Parliament Youtube: https://youtu.be/UlbBQ3bSnNQ

Read a transcript of the debate: https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2020-10-05/debates/C34D435A-FA13-450E-B3FB-8B03C63287CB/Covid-19MaternityAndParentalLeave

Read the Petitions Committee’s report on the impact of Covid-19 on maternity and parental leave: https://committees.parliament.uk/publications/1759/documents/17170/default/

Follow the Petitions Committee on Twitter: https://twitter.com/HoCpetitions

Government responds to questions about the impact of Covid-19 on maternity leave

On 16 September, the Chair of the Petitions Committee asked the Prime Minister about the Government's response to its report on the issues raised within this petition, during a meeting of the Liaison Committee.

Watch the Catherine McKinnel ask the Prime Minister about the Government's response to its report: https://youtu.be/mv8SXHGIgWQ?t=1815

The Prime Minister has responded to this question in a letter to the Liaison Committee. You can read the letter here: https://committees.parliament.uk/publications/2927/documents/28169/default/

The Petitions Committee also wrote to the Government about its guidance and support for baby and toddler groups. The Government has now responded to this letter.

Read the Committee's letter: https://committees.parliament.uk/publications/2699/documents/26695/default/

Read the Government's response:
https://committees.parliament.uk/publications/2970/documents/28398/default/

Following the recent debate on this petition, the Chair of the Petitions Committee, Catherine McKinnell MP, recorded a personal message for you and all those who signed this petition.

Watch the message here: https://youtu.be/1lP3u_NM62M