Maternity Rights – European law to extend maternity rights to self-employed and wives of self-employedWednesday, May 26th, 2010
The European Union (EU) is to update the maternity leave directive to give standard maternity leave rights to self-employed women and the spouses or life partners of self-employed men. It is common for self-employed workers in farming and small firms and for professional workers to be helped in their jobs by their spouses or partners. The intention is for any pregnant self-employed woman or self-employed worker’s spouse to be given “sufficient maternity allowance to cover interruptions at their work” of at least 14 weeks’ maternity leave, i.e. the minimum paid period laid down for normal employees by the EU maternity leave directive.
It will be up to Member States to decide whether the leave is mandatory or voluntary, and whether this social protection can also be “proportional to the participation in the activities of the self-employed worker”.
The Council of the EU is set to adopt these amendments on 7 June. Member States will then have two years to implement the changes, or up to four years “if Member States find difficulties” in finding the way to grant standard social protection to self-employed workers or spouses and partners of the self-employed.
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