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EU could extend maternity leave

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A committee of the European Parliament has proposed that maternity leave should be extended across Europe to 20 weeks full pay.

Currently, the average European mother is given 14 weeks fully paid leave to birth and care for new babies.

While in the UK, pregnant women are offered a year off work, with the first six weeks on 90% pay, followed by 33 weeks on basic £123 a week Statutory Maternity Pay, with the remainder deemed unpaid leave.

But the EU’s proposals, while no doubt embraced by expectant mothers, have been condemned by government ministers, worried that the changes could cost the economy an additional £2 billion.

“The commission’s proposals are only at an early stage, but we do have concerns and are lobbying hard to get the right deal for the UK. We already have a generous system … balancing the needs of business and workers,” Employment Relations Minister, Lord Young, argued.

Additional concerns could see pregnant women openly discriminated against by employers as their extended leave could become too costly during an economic downturn.

“We desperately need a moratorium on changes to legislation until employers have found their feet again,” added National Chairman for the Federation of Small Businesses, John Wright.

“We need to be left alone to get on with creating jobs and helping take Britain out of recession.’”

The committee’s draft documents will be presented to the European Parliament this March.

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Written by Andrew Hodges

March 6, 2010 at 11:32 am

Posted in Comment, LinkedIn

Tagged with , ,

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