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EU: 20 weeks maternity leave on full pay?
A European Parliament proposal to increase maternity leave from 14 to 20 weeks on full pay has been passed by a committee and will now be considered by the full European Parliament in March. The UK currently allows for a year off – the first six weeks on 90% pay, the next 33 weeks on Statutory Maternity Pay and the rest is unpaid. The British Employment Relations Minister expressed concerns that the UK system “which balances the needs of businesses and workers” would be adversely affected while the Institute of Directors predicts annual costs to businesses could increase by between £1.5bn and £2bn. At the same time, the British Chambers of Commerce said that the EU should instead focus on improving health and safety standards for pregnant workers.
The European Parliament threw out similar plans to increase maternity leave to 20 weeks, with only 6 weeks at full pax, 18 months ago.