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Nov
02nd

FULL PAY MATERNITY By: Gordon

European Parliament votes for minimum 20 week maternity leave on full pay and two weeks on full pay for fathers
Employers could face a £2.5bn bill after the European Parliament voted to force companies to pay maternity leave at full pay for 20 weeks.

The proposed changes, which also introduce two weeks fully paid leave for fathers, could lead to companies turning away female job hunters, lawyers warned.

Female workers in the UK receive up to 90pc of their average weekly earnings for the first six weeks of leave, followed by statutory pay of £124 a week for the following 33 weeks. Men receive up to two weeks paternity leave, paid at a minimum of £124 a week.

The European Commission first proposed amendments to the Pregnant Workers Directive in 2008 to raise the minimum leave available from 14 weeks to 18 weeks across Europe, but left member states largely free to decide how much pay women would receive. The UK had argued the changes were unnecessary and unaffordable.

Yesterday MEPs voted overwhelming in favour of taking the reforms further despite also presenting a report on the costs involved, which showed the UK would be hit by an additional £2.5bn bill.

Portuguese socialist Edite Estrel, the MEP who led calls for a tougher maternity leave regime, said the costs were “minimal”, insisting: “This is a great day for new parents and good news for our economic future in Europe.”

However, Allen & Overy employment & benefits lawyer Sarah Henchoz said if the changes went ahead women could find it harder to find work. “These proposals could lead to companies deliberately not employing women of childbearing age,” she said.

Tina Sommer from the Federation of Small Businesses, said: “Small businesses are known to be flexible employers but these EU proposals will cost small firms an extra £7,000, so we are deeply concerned.”

These regulations may lead some firms to outsource various functions. If you are considering outsourcing your accounting function please contact us , Haxton , Chartered Accountants for West London.

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