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MP claims Parliament doesn't recognise maternity leave

This week, MP Stella Creasy spoke out about how she feels she needs to choose between being a mother and being an MP. In a letter to The Guardian, she wrote about how the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA), which regulates MP’s pay, fails to recognise that MPs go on maternity leave and will not provide any paid cover for work carried out outside the parliamentary chamber.

“The UK Parliament’s approach to maternity leave and support is archaic,” said Shelley Winter, director, global head of executive coaching at leadership consulting firm, YSC Consulting. “Indeed, it’s unfortunate that women are still being put in a position where they feel they need to choose between motherhood and their career.

“Returning to work after parental leave is often extremely hard – much harder than many men and women anticipate. Loss of confidence is a common issue, along with anxiety and guilt as a result of managing multiple conflicting roles. For those in Stella Creasy’s situation, whereby their employer does not recognise the magnitude of this transition, these feelings will be heightened.

Winter continued: “In any business or parliamentary body, supporting a parent pre, during and post parental leave is a critical factor in not only rebuilding confidence and well-being in individuals, but also in retaining key employees and representatives. Our research has shown that up to one in three women won’t return to work after their maternity leave, however with organisational support, this number is reduced to one in ten. In order to avoid alienating female MPs and have engaged representatives that are capable of managing their constituency, the UK Parliament needs to address its back-to-work policy and ensure it’s offering the support required – through pay, coaching and flexibility – to help women like Stella Creasy do what they should be doing in 2019: being a mother and doing their job well.”

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