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Parental leave: Deputy backs bid for 52 weeks

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A PROPOSAL to introduce 52 weeks of parental leave should be trialled for a year and employers given government support if they begin to struggle, a politician has said.

Louise Doublet..Picture:DAVID FERGUSON. (26043060)

Deputy Louise Doublet made the comments after the Economic and International Affairs Scrutiny Panel this week called for the leave period proposed by Social Security to be kept at 26 weeks.

The panel made the move after companies raised concerns over the impact the proposed increase to 52 weeks would have on their business.

The Scrutiny panel – made up of Deputies Kirsten Morel, David Johnson, Jess Perchard and Senator Kristina Moore – has also called for the noticed period an employee must give the employer when they request the leave to be extended from 28 days to 42.

And they have asked for a paragraph to be inserted into the new law to ensure that when someone takes their second or third parental leave period, ‘due notice’ is given to other employees.

The panel has now put forward their recommendations in an amendment to the parental leave proposition, which is due to be debated later this month.

However, Deputy Doublet, said she disagreed with the scrutiny panel’s findings.

‘That is why I have lodged a proposition to review it 12 months after it has been implemented so if there are any problems or if anyone is struggling with it, we can support them. I think we do need to give it a go and I do not think the evidence that was used to lodge the amendment was a solid evidence base,’ she said.

‘The States have signed up to the 1,001 Critical Days programme which goes up to a child’s second birthday. So, that [the current proposals] covers that time period and there is tonnes of evidence behind it and that is what has been said is best for children.

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‘We have also said that we are going to put children first so we should be putting children before businesses and we can give businesses support if it is needed.’

Asked what support businesses could be given, she said: ‘It could be financial support, help to find cover staff, possibly equipment and facilities for the breastfeeding side of the legislation. Until we try we will not know what that might be.’

And Deputy Doublet said that she did not yet know what amount of money should be budgeted for providing support for businesses.

Meanwhile, Deputy Kirsten Morel, said: ‘Perhaps the biggest change we are proposing is to maintain the status quo of 26 weeks’ leave for parents.

‘If our amendment is accepted, it will not affect any of the other rights given to new parents, it simply maintains the current leave period until further analysis is undertaken by the Minister.’

Ed Taylor

By Ed Taylor
Journalist

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