Saturday, June 18, 2011

Gender Issues: Maternity leave: rapporteur regrets Council still not in line with EP

Source: European Parliament

EP rapporteur on maternity leave Edite Estrela has criticised the lack of progress by Member States on plans to modernise existing legislation on the subject, after a discussion in the Council on Friday showed diverging views between ministers, with some even proposing to stop trying to reach a deal.

"I regret that some Member States expressed once again a disrespectful position towards the European Parliament. Member States are not taking into due consideration the large majority reached in the Parliament or the results of the latest Eurobarometer on this issue", said Edite Estrela (S&D, PT).

In a recent EU-wide Eurobarometer opinion survey, nearly 8 out of 10 respondents (78%) were in favour of maternity leave of 20 weeks at full pay.

"However, I hope that we will have the opportunity to finally work on a balanced compromise with the future Polish Presidency of the EU. They already shown determination and made some efforts to work towards an agreement with the European Parliament. As rapporteur, I would like to reiterate my availability and flexibility to work together with the Council in order to reach an agreement which will fulfil the needs of European families and of the European economy", she added.

In its first reading vote, on 20 October 2010, Parliament amended the Commission's initial proposal to provide 20 weeks' maternity leave on full pay and to introduce 2 weeks' paternity leave. MEPs also added provisions banning discrimination of pregnant workers and protecting the health and safety of pregnant women at work.