Mothers in Britain Receive Third Lowest Maternity Pay in EU British Mothers `Get a Third of Maternity Pay in Norway'

By Beard, Matthew | The Independent (London, England), January 16, 2003 | Go to article overview
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Mothers in Britain Receive Third Lowest Maternity Pay in EU British Mothers `Get a Third of Maternity Pay in Norway'


Beard, Matthew, The Independent (London, England)


MATERNITY PAY in Britain is the third lowest in the European Union, a global study into state provision for new mothers reveals today.

A British mother earning pounds 15,000 receives pounds 2,458 statutory pay in the six months after leaving work - less than in all EU countries except Luxembourg and Greece.

Research by Mercer Human Resource Consulting shows that the most generous entitlements are in Denmark, Italy and Sweden where, using the same example, mothers receive pounds 6,756, pounds 6,058 and pounds 6,000 respectively, compared with an EU average of pounds 4,198. Outside the European Union, the highest level of benefits was offered by Norway, where a woman earning pounds 15,000 annually would receive pounds 7,500 during six months' leave.

Maternity benefits are lower outside Europe, and in the United States women only receive state aid if they qualify for short-term disability or sick-leave benefits.

The report's authors said Britain would remain in the bottom quarter of the 60 countries studied if the research were updated to include more generous state provisions for parents announced in the last budget.

From 6 April, statutory maternity leave will rise to 90 per cent for the first six weeks plus 20 weeks at pounds 100, compared with the current six weeks at 90 per cent of pay and pounds 75 for the remaining 12 weeks. Total statutory leave will increase from 40 to 52 weeks.

Time off for mothers in Britain is the fifth most generous among EU countries, the survey found. Only Sweden, Denmark, Italy and Finland were more generous, offering 96, 50, 47 and 44 weeks respectively.

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