A BUSINESS minister promoting shared parental leave for couples has admitted he’s barred from taking part in the scheme.
Dad-to-be Andrew Griffiths gave a radio interview championing the Government policy offering both parents the chance to share leave when they have a baby.
But questioned over the take-up of the policy he revealed he was unable to take up the opportunity for time off when his baby arrives in April.
He told how ministers were “office holders rather than employees” and were not allowed to take it.
Speaking on BBC Radio 5 live, he highlighted the £1.5m “share the joy” campaign, promoting shared parental leave rights.
But presenter Emma Barnett chipped in: “Hang on a minute. Back up a second. You’ve just come on the radio to promote shared parental leave, and you’re in a job where the rules could be changed because you are the rule-makers – where you are not allowed to take shared parental leave.”
He replied: “Ministers are not allowed to take shared parental leave. But I think I am going to be the first-ever minister responsible for maternity and paternity to take their full allocation of paternity.
“I’ve already told my office that I’m taking two weeks off.”
He added: “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.
“I’m sure your listeners will have huge sympathy for a minister not being able to take their shared parental leave.”
But the BBC presenter said “No, I think they’ll find it ludicrous”.
Asked about the rules affecting ministers, he promised to “take it away and think about it” saying it wasn’t his “priority”.
Under the policy introduced in 2015, parents can share 50 weeks off after they have a baby, with 37 of them paid.
They can be at home together for up to six months or take time off separately.
Around 285,000 couples are eligible but ministers believe the take up could be as low as two per cent because half the public are not aware it exists.
Mr Griffiths added: “Employers can reap the benefits too. We know that flexibility in work is proven to create happier, more loyal and more productive workforces.”
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