Zara K

The Scottish Greens have today voted to support equal rights for mothers and fathers in the provision of parental leave. The vote was taken at the party’s annual conference at the SECC in Glasgow.

The passed motion means the Greens will support the extension of paid parental leave to 18 months. Couples could decide among themselves how to distribute this leave.

The policy would simplify and modernise the current parental leave system, which includes only one or two weeks of paid paternity leave, and 18 weeks of shared, unpaid parental leave. The proposition would not reduce the amount of paid leave mothers are entitled to, but would ensure that children benefit from the presence of parents, and that families, including same-sex couples, could tailor parental leave around their circumstances.

Zara Kitson, Co-convenor or the Glasgow Greens and candidate for Glasgow in the Holyrood election in 2016, said:

“Gender equality and families should be at the heart of a 21st century Scotland, but at the moment, our parental leave system is stuck in the past - it's as if we're still expecting women to do all the nurturing and men to be the sole breadwinners. These old-fashioned provisions are leaving many parents unable to be there for their kids during the first years of their lives.

“In the Nordic countries, leave is distributed in a far more equal and flexible way, giving mums and dads more freedom and choice. The provisions proposed by the Scottish Greens would encourage more equal sharing of childcare duties in two parent families and would enable same-sex couples to divvy up care as they see fit. Single parent families would also benefit from the extended parental leave, enabling better balance when faced with choices around juggling childcare and work. All parents should have the same rights to be there for their children at this crucial early stage of life.

“We know how important having access to parents is for a child, and we know that being a parent is a full-time and invaluable job that's vital to creating a good society. I'm proud that the Scottish Greens are leading the way, and standing up for a fairer and simpler parental leave system that's fit for today's families.”