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Maternity and paternity leave in the EU
Article in images

Maternity leave costs


 - Maternity leave costs
A rise in female participation in the workplace will have an additional effect directly linked to the debate on the new directive.

Whether it be employer or the state who fund the mothers full pay during 20 weeks before and after birth - the money has to come from somewhere.

Supporters have gathered evidence that suggest that female participation in the labour market needs to rise by only 1.04% to cover the additional costs the new directive would create.

Most of this small addition – 1.0% – is associated with the extension of maternity leave, while just 0.04% more female participation would be needed to compensate for introduction of paternity leave. 

Moreover, the particular adjustment is not large. And, as opponents fail to point out, the proposals would entail little or no change for most EU member states.

"These states should not let themselves – and the EU – be taken hostage by the UK and Germany, countries in which parents have weaker rights.", rapporteur Estrela argues.

Germany currently only provides 14 weeks of maternity leave, and no paternity leave at all. The UK offers paternity leave and a long, partially paid 52-week maternity leave, but after six weeks new mothers are paid just £123 and the final 'additional maternity leave' portion of their leave is unpaid.

"This is all well and good for couples in which the woman has a small job on the side for fun, but mothers whose families depend on their income have to return to work just six weeks after childbirth."


Shila Meyer Behjat
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