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Jess Phillips sits on one of Westminster’s influential committees and she’s called for parental leave to be equalised as a way of improving society
Men should get nine months paternity leave according to an influential MP.
Jess Phillips is a leading member of the Labour party and a member of the Commons Women and Equalities Committee. She has called for men to get a massive increase in the amount of time off they are entitled to following the birth of a child.
The Labour member for Birmingham Yardley wants men and women to get the same amount of paid parental leave – nine months each.
She was speaking on ITV’s Acting Prime Minister podcast in which guests are asked what they would do should they suddenly find themselves in Number 10 with the levers of government at their disposal. Phillips said the first legislation she would introduce would be a bill to equalise parental leave.
She said, “We’re literally living our lives in 1950s social policy and we expect everybody to culturally change.
“Our laws are literally based on the idea that mothers should take time off.
“You can share leave now which is better but that takes time away from the mum. Why wouldn’t you give nine months to the mum and nine months to the dad and you’ve got 18 months childcare for a start. You’ve solved the childcare problem there.”
Phillips worked in a women’s refuge before entering politics. She has attracted plenty of headlines for her forthright style since first getting elected in 2015. In the interview she went further, suggesting that nurseries need to be free.
She added, “You could have universal free childcare until people start school.
“I genuinely think it would radically change the culture in our country and so many of the things that I have seen go wrong in the lives of people that I’ve worked with over the years is because we don’t have a radically equal society.”
The Women and Equalities committee of MPs released a report into supporting dads in the workplace in 2018. Recommendations included making paternity rights available from day one in a job and boosting paternity leave to 12 weeks, up from the current fortnight. The committee also called for paternity to become a protected status under the Equality Act meaning men could not be discriminated against for taking up flexible working arrangements to fit around their family for example.