Maternity leave for persons

One little word.

The [UK] government has agreed to change its bill allowing ministers to take maternity leave, so that it uses the term “mother” rather than “person”.

The Ministerial and other Maternity Allowances Bill would ensure up to six months’ leave on full pay.

But the House of Lords rejected the use of the word “person” in its text.

The government initially argued this was in line with “drafting convention” but has changed its view, saying use of “mother” is legally “acceptable”.

I strongly doubt that it’s any kind of “convention” to use “person” in single-sex legislation. I think the goal when writing legislation is to be as precise and clear as possible, so if a law affects one sex only, what would be the added precision in using “person”?

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