[Brussels, 10 December 2012] In 2008, the European Commission launched the proposal to amend the Pregnant Workers’ Directive (92/85/EEC) in order to extend maternity leave from the current 14 to 18 weeks, with a mandatory period of 6 weeks (currently 2 weeks). The European Parliament discussed the proposal in the FEMM committee and on 20 October 2010 the European Parliament plenary session adopted its position, allowing for 20 weeks full pay maternity leave, with a so-called “passerelle clause” to combine maternity and parental leave for countries that already have this system in place. In addition, 2 weeks fully paid paternity leave was also agreed in the European Parliament’s proposal and a protection clause which provides for mothers’ and fathers’ protection up to 6 months on return to their workplace.
Following the co-decision procedure, the Council of the EU was supposed to adopt its position immediately after the European Parliament. It has been two years now since we heard nothing from the EPSCO Council.
It is urgent today to unblock the negotiations and to make sure that the Maternity Leave Directive will be on EPSCO agenda during the first semester of 2013. This directive is the guarantee of protection for every woman in Europe who gives birth and to find a balance between her private and her professional life – which is necessary to reach gender equality.
Today, we are launching our new campaign “2 years overdue” to advocate for the second reading phase by the Council of the European parliament’s position and the adoption of a revised maternity leave directive which grants women full pay and protect them on return to work. We feel the urgency today to take a position and to achieve the adoption of the text.
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There is no time to waste in approving new EU maternity leave legislation!
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