Members of European Parliament call for revision on maternity leave
A revision of the maternity leave directive was proposed by the European Commission in 2008 and approved by a large majority in the European Parliament (EP) in 2010. The proposal aimed to extend fully-paid maternity to at least 20 weeks, strengthen protection for female workers dismissed from work on return from maternity leave and provide fully-paid paternity leave, for same-sex couples also, for two weeks. However, since its approval by the EP, the revised directive had been blocked in the European Council and this July the proposal was dismissed by the European Commission.
According to Members of European Parliament supporting this proposal, the directive on maternity leave would reinforce protection for mothers and contribute to the balance of family with work life, as well as to gender equality between women and men. Those opposing to it, however, state that the revised directive has certain measures which would be unsustainable for businesses and state-hit state funds, and arguing that maternity protection is already ensured by the maternity leave directive currently in-force.
Stressing the major importance in having this legislation coming into force as soon as possible, supporters of the revised directive hope that the proposal will be back on the agenda and that the renewed dialogue between EU institutions will produce a positive outcome in the next months.
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