Kate Forbes to be first Scottish cabinet secretary to take materntity leave

KATE Forbes is set to become the first Scottish cabinet secretary to take maternity leave after announcing she is pregnant with her first child.

The SNP Finance and Economy Secretary will retain her job while she takes leave in the summer, with her duties are covered by colleagues.

The Skye MSP married chimney sweep boss Ali MacLennan in Dingwall last July.

The couple have three teenage daughters – Rachael, Rebekah and Zara – from Mr Maclennan’s previous marriage.

Former SNP children’s minister Aileen Campbell was the first Scottish minister to take maternity leave, but Ms Forbes is the first cabinet member to do so.

The Government has yet to confirm how long she will be on leave, or the arrangements for covering her responsibilities when she is.

Ms Forbes is currently supported by three male ministers – employment minister Richard Lochhead, trade minister Ivan McKee and public finance minister Tom Arthur.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney has also been finance secretary before.

Ms Forbes said: “My husband Ali and I are absolutely thrilled to announce we are expecting a baby later this year and we’re looking forward to welcoming a new member of our family.

“I am equally pleased to be the first serving Cabinet Secretary to take maternity leave in Scotland which I hope sends a clear and strong message that holding a senior leadership role in the public eye should not be a barrier to starting a family.  

“For now, I remain focused on tackling the biggest issues of the day, including passing the 2022-2023 Scottish Budget later this week.”

The First Minister added: “On behalf of the Scottish Government, I want to offer the warmest of congratulations to Kate, Ali and their family on this lovely news.

“I am pleased Kate will be able to enjoy those precious early months with her new arrival and her wider family. This should never be a barrier to someone’s career, especially women in senior leadership roles. That’s why we are clear Kate is not leaving government. 

“She will remain Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Economy while on leave and take up her duties again upon her return.”

The Scottish Government said “further details on how the Cabinet Secretary’s responsibilities will be covered will be set out ahead of her maternity leave starting”.

Ministers are deemed to be ‘holders of public office’ and are not contracted employees of either the Scottish Government or the Scottish Parliament – it is the Scottish Parliament that is responsible for paying Ministers and MSPs. 

As such, Ministers and MSPs do not automatically qualify for statutory or contractual maternity leave.

Decisions about granting and the duration of the equivalent of formal maternity leave are entirely at the discretion of the First Minister.


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