The UK Minister for Employment Relations went to Brussels on the 6th December to lobby on the Pregnant Workers Directive. This is a result of the Governments concern that moving to 20 weeks of maternity leave at full pay as is proposed by the European Parliament would impose “considerable and unacceptable additional costs” on Member States at a time when economies accross the EU can least afford it. Interestingly, Ministers also believe that the proposals are “socially regressive”.
Currently in the UK, the standard rate of maternity pay is £124.88 per week. Some key elements of the EU proposal are:
20 weeks maternity leave, in principle at full pay,
20 weeks adoption leave on the same terms and
2 weeks paternity leave on full pay.
The Minister knows that many Member States are in agreement with the UK view, and he will be lobbying against these MEP Proposals.
The British Chamber of Commerce estimate that the proposals being put forward will cost the UK more than £2bn per year.