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Labour will up maternity pay to 12 months

Emma Lunn
Written By:
Emma Lunn

Labour is promising a “step-change in how women are treated at work” if it wins the upcoming election.

The Labour Party has unveiled a series of reforms it claims will transform the workplace for women if it comes to power after 12 December.

It has pledged to increase the length of statutory maternity pay from nine months to a year, allowing all working mothers or parents to spend a full year with their newborn babies before going back to work.

It also plans to create a new Workers’ Protection Agency, working in partnership with HMRC, with powers to fine organisations that fail to report their gender pay, publish action plans to reduce pay gaps, or take satisfactory measures to close the pay gap.

There are also measures to create a right to flexible working with a proposal that all workers will have the right to choose their working hours from day one of the job.

It also wants large employers to introduce a menopause workplace policy to break the stigma associated with the menopause, and for sexual harassment in the workplace to be tackled.

Dawn Butler, Labour’s shadow women and equalities secretary, said: “Next Thursday, it is equal pay day, the day when women effectively stop getting paid for the rest of the year compared to their male counterparts. It’s a disgrace.

“I’m sick of how women are treated at work. Audits aren’t enough, we know there’s a problem that needs fixing. So we will do something about it.

“We’ll also extend the amount of time a new mother can spend with her newborn by extending statutory maternity pay to 12 months, so that all mothers can  afford to spend those vital early months with their baby.

“Labour will deliver a workplace revolution to bring about a step-change in how women are treated at work. We’ll boost pay, increase flexibility, and strengthen protections against harassment and discrimination. After years of our concerns being ignored, it’s time for real change.”