Select Committee on Social Security Ninth Report


1. We welcome the Government's decision to allow low-income parents to claim benefits during periods of leave (paragraph 10).

2. The Government's decision to allow low-paid parents to claim Income Support may result in a higher level of take-up among low-paid parents. But we remain concerned that large numbers of low-paid workers will be unable to claim their entitlement to parental leave because they will lose out financially if they do so (paragraph 13).

3. It is clear to us that if parental leave is unpaid take-up among fathers will be particularly low (paragraph 14).

4. We recommend that employers should not be obliged to reimburse employees during periods of parental leave. We welcome, however, the IoD's statement that family friendly policies should be encouraged as good practice and we hope that a number of employers will adopt family friendly policies (paragraph 26).

5. There is a danger that small businesses will lose out if there is no state payment of parental leave because they will not be able to afford to compete with larger businesses in offering paid or partially paid parental leave (paragraph 27).

6. We recommend that the Government should establish an independent body to monitor the take-up and impact of parental leave (paragraph 40).

7. We welcome the introduction of parental leave but are concerned that take-up will be very low unless there is an element of payment. We recommend that the Government should introduce a flat-rate method of payment for those taking parental leave. Such a method of payment would be relatively inexpensive and could form the basis for more generous provision in the future. We recommend that a flat-rate payment should be introduced for a specific length of time after which careful monitoring of the take-up and impact of parental leave should form the basis for informed decisions about payment (paragraph 41).

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