Charlotte Street Partners



Parental joy/paternal rights

Written by Maria Julia Pieraccioni, senior associate
Edited by Kevin Pringle, senior partner

9 February 2022 

Good morning,

Congratulations are in order at chez Forbes. Yesterday, cabinet secretary for finance and the economy Kate Forbes announced she is pregnant with her first child, due this summer. In the statement from the SNP, Forbes said that she will be taking maternity leave, becoming the first cabinet secretary and second woman in the Scottish government to do so. Aileen Campbell, former minister for children and young people, set the precedent, becoming the first serving minister to take maternity leave in December 2014.
In her statement, Forbes acknowledged the pressures thousands of women across the country face to “balance both work and personal responsibilities”. A point echoed by first minister Nicola Sturgeon, who expressed delight at the news and Forbes’ decision to take leave, but commented that a woman’s “pregnancy should never be a barrier to someone’s career, especially women in senior leadership roles”, and while that’s a sentiment one wholeheartedly agrees with, how true does it ring in reality?
Forbes added in her statement that “politics, like many workplaces, is often not renowned for being a supportive environment for parents” and that to have a career and a family, one needs “the right support in place”. Support which also comes from paid maternity and paternity leave.
According to the Scottish government’s website, ministers are deemed to be “holders of public office” and therefore are not employees of either the Scottish government or the parliament, the latter of which is responsible for paying ministers and MSPs. As such, ministers and MSPs do not automatically qualify for statutory or contractual maternity leave, which for ministers is at the discretion of the first minister. Furthermore, that sentiment applies to maternity leave alone, making no mention of paternity leave.
According to the UK government, statutory maternity pay (SMP) is paid for up to 39 weeks, and a mother is entitled to 90% of her average weekly gross earnings for the first six weeks. After that, she will either get £151.97 or 90% of average weekly earnings (whichever is lower) for the next 33. According to the latest OECD figures from 2016, that’s significantly higher than the OECD average, and strikingly so when compared to countries like the United States, where parental leave is neither mandated nor protected by federal law.
What about paternity leave, a decision parents around the world are increasingly gravitating towards? Paternity leave became legislated for in 2003and protects the right of expectant fathers to take either one or two weeks of paternity paid leave, which is similarly paid as maternity leave and must end within 56 days of the baby’s birth. However, expectant parents have also the option of taking shared parental leave and pay, where partners can share up to 50 weeks of leave and up to 37 weeks of pay between the two. Introduced in 2013 by the Conservative-LibDem coalition government, it was spearheaded by the then minister for employment relations, Jo Swinson, and is largely considered to be a success.
The cabinet secretary’s statement brings joyful news and reminds us that parental leave is a right hard won and worthy to be enjoyed in full.


Jacob Rees-Mogg has been announced as minister for Brexit opportunities, as prime minister Boris Johnson made a mini reshuffle of his cabinet amid ongoing pressure over parties held in Downing Street during lockdown. The reshuffle sees Chris Heaton-Harris becoming the new chief whip, Mark Spencer replacing Rees-Mogg as leader of the Commons, and Paymaster General Michael Ellis takes on the additional role of minister for the Cabinet Office.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid has unveiled the government’s NHS Elective Recovery Plan to the Commons yesterday, which aims to tackle NHS waiting lists in England and get core health services back on track as the pandemic eases. Through the plan, the government commits to cutting waiting list to under a year by 2025, restore diagnostics within six weeks to pre-pandemic levels by 2025, create a list of reserve health workers to increase capacity, and introduce an online platform to improve information and support for patients.
French president Emmanuel Macron’s claim that Putin gave him personal assurances that Russia will not escalate the crisis in Ukraine has been met with scepticism by Ukrainian president Zelenskiy. Macron claimed Putin had made clear during discussions on Monday that he would not be the one to escalate tensions, however Zelenskiy noted that he believes “every politician can be transparent by taking concrete steps.”

Business and economy

National Grid and household supplier Octopus Energy have announced a joint two-month pilot project that will offer British households financial incentives to limit their electricity use during periods of peak demand. The scheme will test how consumers can help with energy supply and ultimately reduce the need for new power stations. The project also aims to test ‘flexible’ electricity consumption, which the Climate Change Committee, an independent advisor to the UK government, says will become the norm as the country moves towards weather-dependent sources of energy. (£)
Barry McCarthy has succeeded John Foley as CEO of the American exercise-bike company Peloton, as the company battles against a plummeting share price and activist investor Blackwells Capital. Details of the announcement were welcomed in the markets yesterday, with Peloton’s shares jumping 15% despite recent news that the company will cut 2,800 jobs. (£)
JustEat’s parent company will delist its shares from the tech-heavy Nasdaq stock exchange at the end of the first quarter of 2022, due to onerous listing and reporting requirements in the US. Executives from the company confirmed it will keep its shares listed in London and Amsterdam. Following the announcement, the company’s shares jumped over two per cent above its opening price yesterday.

Columns of note

TikTok’s rise poses an existential threat to Facebook — or Meta, as it’s known these days —argues John Naughton in The Guardian. Facebook recently graced global headlines after announcing its financial results, confirming its shares dropped 25%, which wiped $240bn off its market value. But that’s not enough to keep Zuckerberg up at night, Naughton argues. According to reports from Zuckerberg’s conference call with stock market analysts, Meta’s founder is preoccupied with TikTok’s attention-grabbing content, stealing costly users away from Facebook. According to Naughton, his genius will lie in knowing that his position as master of the social universe is fleeting, which may “explain why he plans to be master of the coming metaverse”.
Nobel prize-winning astronomer Didier Queloz writes about the politicisation of science in his opinion piece for the FT. Queloz unpacks the UK and EU’s refusal to sign the Horizon Europe deal, a mutual commitment to the UK joining Europe’s flagship research and innovation programme, which he concludes has become a “bargaining chip in wider negotiations”. (£)


What happened yesterday?

London stocks dipped below the waterline on Tuesday, dragged down by Ocado and Airtel Africa’s poor share performance. The FTSE 100 ended the session down 0.09%, despite an early bounce thanks to BP earnings, as investors fear an upcoming slowdown in growth in the UK. Meanwhile, sterling gained 0.15% against the dollar, ending the day at $1.355, and up 0.35% against the euro, at €1.187.
Across the Channel, European shares rose slightly despite persistent inflationary worries. The pan-European Stoxx 600 index inched up by 0.01% by the end of trading on Tuesday, followed by gains made by Germany’s Dax (+0.24%) and Spain’s Ibex 35 (+1.36%).

What’s happening today?

Finsbury Growth        
Oxford Metrics
Schroder UK Mid & Small Cap Fund
Inspirit Energy
Grainger plc   
Contango Hdg
Final Dividend Payment Date
Brewin Dolphin          
Final Results
Lancashire Holdings  
Smurfit Kappa
Indust Reit     
Interim Dividend Payment Date
Crystal Amber
Panther Securities     
Interim Results
Pz Cussons   
Barratt Developments

Q4 Results
Lancashire Holdings  
Quarterly Dividend Payment Date
British American Tobacco     
Trading Announcement
Grainger plc   
Discoverie Grp.          
Intl Economic Announcement
(15:00) Wholesales Inventories (US)
(12:00) MBA Mortgage Applications (US)
(07:00) Current Account (GER)
(07:00) Balance of Trade (GER)
(15:30) Crude Oil Inventories (US)
UK Economic Announcement
(00:01) Retail Sales
(07:00) GDP (Preliminary)
(00:01) RICS Housing Market Survey

Source: FTSE 100, Financial Times

did you know

Variations in the genes for the newly discovered scent receptors for musk and underarm odour suggests that humans’ sense of smell is gradually becoming less sensitive. (source: Science Daily)

Parliamentary highlights

House of Commons
Oral questions
Prime Minister
Ten Minute Rule Motion
Seals (protection)
Police Grant Report
Local Government Finance Report
Neonatal leave and pay
Westminster Hall Debate

House of Lords
Advanced Research and Invention Agency Bill – consideration of Commons amendments
Dissolution and Calling of Parliament Bill – report stage
Lord Bishop of Guildford
Oral questions
Dormant Assets Bill [HL] – consideration of Commons reasons amendments
Health and Care Bill – committee stage (day 9)
Subsidy Control Bill – committee stage (day 4)

Scottish Parliament
Parliamentary Bureau Motions
Portfolio Questions
Scottish Government Debate
Nationality and Borders Bill (UK Legislation)
Stage 3 Proceedings
Coronavirus (Discretionary Compensation for Self-Isolation) (Scotland) Bill
Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body Motion
Members’ Expenses Scheme
Business Motions
Parliamentary Bureau Motions
Approval of SSIs (if required)
Decision Time
Members’ Business
S6M-02909 Stephen Kerr: Commemorating the 70th Anniversary of the Accession to the Throne of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

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