New proposals could change maternity leave laws

  • Posted

Posted 25/02/2010

New proposals put forward to the European Union would see the employment law changed with regard to maternity leave, it has been revealed.

Under the draft legislation from the Pregnant Workers’ Directive, which is due to be heard by the European Parliament in early March, expectant mothers would be entitled to 20 weeks’ leave on full pay.

This is in contrast to the current law in the UK, which offers women six weeks off on 90 per cent pay and a further 33 weeks on £123 a week.

Although this could benefit millions of women of child-bearing age, representatives for businesses have warned that it could have a detrimental effect on the economy.

“A substantial increase in maternity leave paid at full or near-full pay risks undermining this delicate balance at a time when economies across the EU can least afford it,” said employment relations minister Lord Young.

Experts believe that the new legislation, if approved, could cost the UK as much as £2 billion.

Under new employment law announced last month, new fathers now have the right to six months’ paternity leave when the mother of their child returns to work.


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