The Government has decided to update the law for senior Cabinet Ministers and Civil Servants so they are able to take up to six months’ maternity leave.
Current Attorney General Suella Braverman announced in November 2020 that she was expecting her second child “early next year”.
As the Government’s chief law officer, she will be one of the most senior Ministers to give birth whilst in office.
Under present legislation, Ms Braverman would be required to resign if she wanted to take time off following the birth.
An announcement from the Government has outlined a new law to formalise the process for ministerial maternity leave, which was previously at the discretion of the Prime Minister.
The new Ministerial and Other Maternity Allowances Bill will allow all Cabinet ministers to receive up to six months’ full pay.
Prior legislation from the 1970s states that the PM does not have the ability to pay for Cabinet members’ maternity leave or pay a salary to a temporary replacement.
This replacement Bill will give Ms Braverman and other Cabinet Ministers the opportunity to take up to six months of maternity leave with full pay – matching current laws for more junior government roles.
The Leader of the Opposition, Sir Keir Starmer, said that his party was willing to back the Bill, although he added that the change “should have been brought in a long time ago”.
A statement has been released by the Prime Minister, who said: “The choice between taking leave to recover from childbirth and care for a new-born child or resigning from office is not acceptable in modern times.”
Boris Johnson also acknowledged the need for further provisions to be made for leave for adoption, sickness and other circumstances.