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Minister promoting shared parental leave says he can’t take shared leave

A couple and a young child in a park
Parents can share 50 weeks off after they have a baby, with 37 of those paid Photograph: I Love Images/Rex/Shutterstock

The minister responsible for encouraging couples to share their parental leave has said he is not allowed to take up the scheme he is championing.

Andrew Griffiths, the small business minister at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, will become a father in April but said on Monday that as an “office holder rather than an employee” he was ineligible for shared leave.

Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live’s Emma Barnett Show, he discussed the £1.5m “share the joy” campaign, which promotes shared parental leave rights. Parents can share 50 weeks off after they have a baby, with 37 of those paid. They can take time off separately or be home together for up to six months.

“Unfortunately, as a minister, I’m not allowed … Ministers are not allowed to take shared parental leave,” Griffiths said.

I’ve discussed with my wife about whether she’d like to take shared parental leave, even if it was available to me. Each family has to make the decision that suits them.”

MPs do not qualify for standard parental leave as they are considered to be “office holders” rather than employees. Arrangements tend to be made through discussion between politicians and their parties.

The first female minister to take maternity leave was Labour’s Yvette Cooper, in 2001, and other women have followed suit since then.

MPs recently voted in favour of allowing those who have recently become parents to nominate a colleague to cast their votes in the Commons under a new system of “baby leave”.

This article titled "Minister promoting shared parental leave says he can’t take shared leave" was written by Sarah Marsh, for The Guardian on Monday 12 February 2018 04.56pm

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