Extend statutory maternity pay to 52 weeks says CBI

21 November 2016

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has said that part of its wish list for the Autumn Statement is to see statutory maternity pay extended from the current 39 weeks to 52 weeks.

The CBI has also called for 15 hours a week of free childcare for all children aged 1-to 4-years-old.

The CBI estimates these changes would cost more than £2bn.

As part of proposals for strengthening the UK's economy, the CBI said the government needs to do more to attract women into careers.

"Businesses are increasingly reporting skills shortages, encouraging more women to remain in the labour force will play a part reducing this bottleneck and improve diversity," the CBI said.

Extra support for new mothers could lift female employment by 2% over 10 years, CBI research suggests.

At the moment all three to four-year-olds in England can get 570 hours of free early education or childcare per year. It's usually taken as 15 hours a week for 38 weeks of the year. Some two-year-olds are also eligible.

The CBI included several other items on its list of things it would like to see in chancellor Philip Hammond's Autumn Statement this week.

These included ways to keep the tax and regulation systems competitive, a renewed commitment to infrastructure spending and ensuring UK businesses can continue to employ migrant workers.

"In the short-term, the government needs to stimulate confidence and investment, while over the longer-term, balance productivity growth across all regions with an ambitious plan for infrastructure investment," said the CBI.