Adoption BillSunday, January 22nd, 2012
The ‘10-minute rule’ is an opportunity for Members of Parliament to present a case for a Bill on a new or existing aspect of legislation in a speech lasting 10 minutes or less. Using this rule, on 29 June 2011, Valerie Vaz proposed the Adoption (Leave, Pay and Allowance Arrangements) Bill. It was not opposed, therefore was introduced to the long list of Bills that are currently before Parliament.
This private Member’s Bill was regarded as having had its first reading on 29 June 2011. The Bill was listed for a second reading in the Commons last week, on 20 January, though this did not take place. Whilst there is still a very long way to go down the parliamentary road, it is worthwhile mentioning the introduction of this Bill and what it aims to achieve:
- Equal eligibility for adoption leave when compared with maternity leave. Currently, maternity leave is available for 52 weeks to all women, irrespective of their length of service. Adopters, however, must have continuous employment for 26 weeks up to and into the Matching Week
- Equal pay for adoption leave when compared with maternity leave. Currently, SMP is payable for 39 weeks, the first 6 weeks at 90% of the employee’s Average Weekly Earnings with the remaining weeks at a flat rate, or the 90% figure if this is lower. SAP, however, is paid for the full 39 weeks at 90% of Average Weekly Earnings or the flat rate, whichever is the lower
- Equal eligibility and payment for self-employed adopters when compared with self-employed biological mothers. Currently, there is no adoption equivalent to the Maternity Allowance
Valerie Vaz commented ‘we should recognise and reward adopters, and show them that they are valued as parents, by equalising their entitlements to support’. I believe that there are many people who would agree with this statement. It will be interesting to pursue this Bill through the traditionally long process before enactment.
Parliament Website – Adoption (Leave, Pay and Allowance Arrangements) Bill 2012