HC Deb 08 June 1995 vol 261 c271W
Mrs. Roche

To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what maternity and paternity entitlements are available to employees within his Department. [27284]

Mr. John M. Taylor

In addition to the statutory maternity leave and statutory maternity pay entitlements, women with one year's service at the start of their maternity leave who state their intention to return to work after their babies are born are entitled to 14 weeks' maternity leave on full pay and a period of unpaid maternity leave thereafter, up to a total maximum absence of 52 weeks. They return to work on no less favourable terms than these enjoyed prior to their maternity leave.

Women with 40 weeks' service by the expected date of birth, who qualify for statutory maternity leave—of 14 weeks—and statutory maternity pay, are given the option to extend their period of absence by four weeks, to enable them to benefit from the full entitlement to 18 weeks' statutory maternity pay. They, too, return to work on no less favourable terms than those held prior to their maternity leave.

Fathers are entitled to two days' paternity leave and there are provisions for staff to apply for additional paid and unpaid special leave for compassionate or domestic reasons. Staff with dependant care responsibilities may apply for a career break of 12 months, renewable on an annual basis to a total of five years if required, because of genuine family reasons or difficulties.

The above arrangements currently apply throughout the Lord Chancellor's Department, including the Court Service and the Public Trust Office.