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UK: EU maternity leave proposals ‘unaffordable’
The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has branded EU proposals granting women 20 weeks maternity leave on full pay as ‘unaffordable’. Currently, women in the UK can take a year off work with the first 6 weeks being on 90% pay, the next 33 weeks on Statutory Maternity Pay of £125 a week and the rest unpaid.
The BCC estimates the extra cost to UK business alone as being £2.5bn a year, adding that the European Commission should have stuck to their original ‘better, more affordable option’ of increasing maternity leave to 18 weeks and giving individual countries the right to decide on the level of pay.
The National Childbirth Trust has meanwhile welcomed the plans as a means of ‘supporting new mothers.’