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Conditions of Employment: Surrogate Parenthood

Volume 487: debated on Wednesday 4 February 2009

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform if he will bring forward proposals to extend maternity leave and employment protection rights afforded to parents to surrogate parents. (250678)

The rights to maternity leave and pay were introduced as a measure to enable women to take time off at the end of pregnancy and after birth to protect their health and safety and that of their children.

The Government have considered rights for surrogate parents from time to time. The need to keep the various leave and pay provisions as straightforward as possible for employers to manage, and ensure that the qualifying conditions reflect the policy rationale for the entitlement in the first place, inevitably mean that certain groups are not covered.

Parents who have a child through a surrogacy arrangement are able to benefit from many of the rights the Government have put in place to support working parents. This includes the right to parental leave, to time off for dependants and the right to request a flexible working pattern. The father of a child born through a surrogacy arrangement and who fulfils the normal eligibility criteria will be able to take two weeks' paid paternity leave.