Maternity Rights – MEP Committee votes to raise minimum level of maternity paySunday, April 26th, 2009
Earlier in April 2009, the government began to consult on European Commission plans to amend the Pregnant Workers Directive. The UK already satisfies most of the improvements, although there are implications for how early maternity leave can start and the period of compulsory leave after the birth.
On 16 April, members of the European Parliament’s Women’s Rights Committee agreed by a majority vote to amend the Commission’s proposals in a number of areas, one of which is of particular relevance to the UK’s existing arrangements. The Commission’s recommendation is that a woman be paid full pay during 18 weeks of maternity leave, although that would not be compulsory and member states would be able to set their own rates. The Women’s Rights Committee, however, agreed to ask the European Parliament to require 100% of salary to be paid for six weeks after birth, followed by at least 85% of salary for up to a further 14 weeks. In addition, fully paid additional maternity leave should be granted in the case of premature childbirth, stillbirth, caesarean section, multiple births or children with disabilities.
The text adopted by the Committee will be put to a vote by the full Parliament in May 2009.
Extend maternity leave to 20 weeks, says Women’s Rights Committee