Lib Dems to guarantee £170-a-week maternity pay

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Indy Politics

Women will be offered £170 a week maternity pay for six months, after the birth of their first child, as part of a package of family policies to be unveiled by Charles Kennedy today. The Liberal Democrat leader said the £4,420 "maternity income guarantee" was the equivalent of the minimum wage for someone on a 35-hour week.

Women will be offered £170 a week maternity pay for six months, after the birth of their first child, as part of a package of family policies to be unveiled by Charles Kennedy today. The Liberal Democrat leader said the £4,420 "maternity income guarantee" was the equivalent of the minimum wage for someone on a 35-hour week.

At present, women get 90 per cent of their normal salary for the first six weeks of their maternity leave, followed by £102 for the next 20 weeks. The party, in its latest move to woo the family vote in the general election, widely expected in May, says the change would leave 75 per cent of the 188,000 working women who have a first child each year better off.

Liberal Democrat officials say all mothers earning less than £22,000 a year would be better off and none would lose out. Under their proposals, women could choose the existing rate, the £170-a-week guarantee or their employer's maternity pay scheme.

Mr Kennedy said: "It will help to prevent this most exciting of times for new parents being marred by the financial worry that can so often accompany it."

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