Attention: political/industrial/social affairs
parental leave - historic milestone but further to go
Commenting on the parental leave regulations laid by the government before parliament today, John Monks, General Secretary of the TUC said:
"Today's parental leave rules mark a historic milestone on the road to making work family friendly.
"Thanks to union action at the European level and Europe's social chapter parents across the EU are gaining new rights as a result of the parental leave directive, negotiated between Europe's employers and unions.
"Good employers already offer parental leave, and unions stand ready to build on the minimum standards in the regulations in negotiations with employers who understand the need to help staff balance work, home and family.
"But there is still some way for the law to go down the family friendly road. While we welcome the moves made to help parents of disabled children, we are disappointed that most parents will have to take leave in blocks of at least a week, when many will want to use it for a doctor's appointment or a school visit.
"We are also very disappointed that existing parents will have had their hopes of winning new rights dashed by the Government's confirmation that only parents of children born after December 15th will gain these rights. We would still press the government to extend these rights to current parents of all children under five.
"The Social Security Select Committee made a forceful case for some element of the leave to be paid in their report on Tuesday. Our polling has shown that unless leave is paid - take-up will be poor, particularly among men. Such a policy would be very attractive in an election manifesto."
Notes to Editors:
All TUC press releases can be found at www.tuc.org.uk
Media enquiries: Liz Chinchen on 0207 467 1248 or 01399 744115 (pager)
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