Magazine article European Social Policy

Pregnant Workers : Ep Wants 20 Weeks of Paid Maternity Leave

Magazine article European Social Policy

Pregnant Workers : Ep Wants 20 Weeks of Paid Maternity Leave

Article excerpt

The European Parliament's Women's Rights Committee wants to extend the period of paid maternity leave to a minimum of 20 weeks. This would add two weeks to the European Commission's proposed extension (from 14 to 18 weeks). Six weeks have to be taken after the birth of a child, the MEPs say. With the adoption of the report by Portugal's Edite Estrela (PSE) in its first reading, the MEPs also want 100% of the salary to be paid for at least the first six weeks after childbirth and a minimum of 85% of it for the rest of the leave. Paternity leave, with a minimum of two mandatory weeks after the birth, was also included by the EP's Committee. On 5 May in Strasbourg, the plenary will vote on this piece of legislation.

The Commission had proposed the directive in October 2008 to "improve the safety and health of pregnant workers or workers who have recently given birth or are breastfeeding" through amendments to Directive 92/85/EE. The revision is part of the social package', which aims to "reconcile work and family life".

Under the terms of the package, the proposal was to extend the duration of maternity leave from the current 14 weeks (under Directive 92/85/EEC) to 18 weeks, as per the International Labour Organisation's recommendation. The proposed revision said that women should receive their full salary for the 18-week maternity leave period. However, it is still possible for the member states to introduce a ceiling, which should not be lower than sickness pay, the Commission proposal said. …

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