An open letter to IPSA

We are campaigning for MPs to have 6 months parental leave and we want IPSA to make it happen. You can read our open letter to the IPSA board here. The letter is signed and supported by various organisations and charities. You can sign our petition here

Dear IPSA board,

We are writing as an alliance of charities and campaigners to express our support for the development of a procedure and the allocation of a budget which would allow all members of Parliament to have access to 6 months parental and adoption leave.

Although we appreciate that MPs can make a contingency application for the cost of providing a locum, to cover non parliamentary chamber duties whilst on maternity leave, we do not believe this to be a sufficient solution.  Given that 24 MPs have given birth since the inception of IPSA, yet not a single MP has taken up the offer of making a contingency application, we believe it is not fit for purpose. The statement from IPSA that it does not recognise that MPs go on maternity leave is deeply troubling. Parental leave must be formally recognised by both Parliament and IPSA.

We understand that in 2017 the chair of IPSA agreed that an uplift to MPs budgets to enable maternity leave would be appropriate but we have no further information as to what has happened since. It is imperative this is now seen as a priority to ensure other MPs do not have to endure the humiliating and stressful contingency application process undertaken by Stella Creasy MP. The Director of Regulation and Insight for IPSA has informed us that IPSA support proposals to allow maternity cover for MPs. We therefore call on IPSA to take the lead on this matter and consult on bringing in new measures without delay. There has been cross party support for this campaign, including support from Theresa May, Jo Swinson, Caroline Lucas and Valerie Vaz.

We believe the current process discriminates against women and acts as a deterrent to gender equality within Westminster. We also believe it sends a negative signal about how pregnant women and new mothers should be treated when they are working. With 54,000 women a year being pushed out of their jobs due to pregnancy and maternity discrimination it is important that Westminster sets the gold standard in terms of how it treats new mothers.

We would like to see IPSA implement a scheme whereby MPs who are due to be parents, know in advance what funding will be in place for a locum whilst they care for their new baby. This funding needs to be consistent with the scheme in place for civil servants and should be for up to 6 months. This should be funded and recorded via the central provision scheme.

This change in policy is important for MPs and the diversity of the parliamentary workforce, but it is also important for all UK citizens; firstly because we need to know that constituents will be in receipt of proper representation but also because by legislating for parental leave for MP’s the government will send a strong signal to employers that parents who work are valued. There is a desire from the public for this change. Over 30,000 people signed our petition in just a few days. You can view their reasons for signing here:

Finally, we believe that having formal arrangements for parental leave for MPs will encourage wider conversations on caring responsibilities and making sure our employment laws meet the needs of our diverse workforce. We will never make workplaces work for women if Westminster fails them every step of the way, and the current policy is failing women.

We look forward to hearing from IPSA about when you will initiate this formal process to develop a parental leave policy for MPs.

Yours Sincerely,

Pregnant Then Screwed

Parental Pay Equality

Fawcett Society

Happen Together CIC


Working Mums

Women’s Equality Party

Women’s Budget Group

Young Women’s Trust

Fatherhood Institute

Fatherhood Network Scotland

Labour Women’s Network

The Parliament Project

Westend Women and Girls

The Centenary Action Group

The Breastfeeding Network

Jo Cox Foundation


Chwarae Teg

Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu – Lawyer and Women’s Rights Activist


Helene Reardon Bond OBE

The Green Party – Amelia Womack

The Pankhurst Trust


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