Maternity leave may be extended to 20 weeks full pay

Draft legislation to extend maternity leave to 20 weeks on full pay has been passed by a European Parliament committee...

Draft legislation to extend maternity leave to 20 weeks on full pay has been passed by a European Parliament committee.

Current European laws give pregnant women 14 weeks fully paid leave, while in the UK women are given a year off with the first six weeks on 90% pay followed by 33 weeks on statutory maternity pay of £123 a week.

The 20-week proposals will now go before the full European Parliament in early March. The UK Government opposes the Pregnant Workers Directive, but Labour’s socialist EU allies backed it.

The new proposals – effectively trebling maternity pay in the UK – mean businesses could be faced with a £2bn burden, the Daily Mail has reported, and could discourage companies from employing women of childbearing age.

A spokesman for the Institute of Directors said: ‘The directive is a massive worry to us. We estimate that the UK will be hit with a bill of £1.5bn to £2bn a year – a very substantial cost.

‘Given the state of the public finances, there has to be a strong risk that employers would end up being forced to pay.’

What do you think – should new mothers be given 20 weeks’ maternity pay on full salary? Let us know in the comment box below…


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