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EU votes to extend maternity leave_2

26 October, 2010

EU votes to extend maternity leave_2

Members of the European Parliament have voted in favour of a new EU law extending maternity leave to 20 weeks on full pay. Posted 26 October by Sasha Wood

Members of the European Parliament have voted in favour of a new EU law extending maternity leave to 20 weeks on full pay.


Maternity pay

But the UK voted against the reforms, which could cost the economy an extra £2.5bn a year, according to a European Parliament impact assessment.

In the UK, women are entitled to only six weeks' maternity leave on 90% of full pay, but can take up to a year off work with 33 weeks' statutory maternity pay. Minimum maternity leave in the EU is currently 14 weeks.

The draft bill was voted through on its first reading and will now be debated by member state governments in the European Council. The proposal will need to gain a decisive majority in the Council to reach a second reading in the European Parliament.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) said it was ‘very disappointed’ by the vote, which went 327 in favour of 20 weeks, with 320 MEPs voting against. On full pay, 354 voted for, with 308 against.

‘The UK government will be working very hard to oppose this law being implemented,’ said a BIS spokesperson.

‘We think it would present additional costs to the EU economy and to the UK Exchequer at a time we could do without it. However the law now needs to be approved by the European Council so it may not end up as UK law.’

 
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