As you may be aware, employment law is a reserved matter which means that the UK Government is responsible for parental leave and pay.

It’s clear that the UK Government needs to do more to expand parental leave and pay, not only during the Covid-19 pandemic, but also beyond this.

In our recent manifesto, the SNP committed to seek legislation in Westminster to:

  • Increase maternity leave to one year;
  • set maternity pay at 100% of average weekly earnings for the first 12 weeks, then 90% for 40 weeks or £150.00, whichever is lower;
  • increase shared parental leave from 52 to 64 weeks, with the additional 12 weeks to be the minimum taken by the father in order to encourage an increase in shared parental leave;
  • introduce a principle of ‘use it or lose it’, whereby the paternity leave cannot be transferred in order to encourage fathers to take the leave, while protecting maternity leave if a couple choose not to take advantage of the provision; and
  • increase the statutory weeks allowed as well as the weekly rate of Paternity Pay to 100% of average weekly earnings for one week then 100% for 2 weeks or £150.00, whichever is lower.

SNP MPs will continue to call on the UK Government to either extend parental leave, which includes maternity leave taken during the Covid-19 pandemic, or to devolve the necessary powers to Scotland to do so.

Support for parents in Scotland during the Covid-19 pandemic is available via: and