"Withdrawal of Maternity Leave Directive is a serious setback" say S&D Euro MPs

Today's announcement of the withdrawal of the Maternity Leave Directive is "an unacceptable step backwards for women's rights" say S&D Euro MPs, who urge the Commission to present a new legislative proposal to protect pregnant workers.
 
S&D Group spokesperson on women’s rights and gender equality, Marie Arena said:

"The Junker Commission just announced the withdrawal of the revision of the maternity leave directive, which aimed to improve the protection for pregnant women and new and nursing mothers. After five years of delaying, member states have succeeded in rejecting this legislation on the grounds that it is no longer relevant! To me this is a real setback.

"Apparently, the fundamental right to a guaranteed maternity leave of 18 weeks with 6 weeks being paid 100% and the rest being paid 85% for all European mothers is not a priority! However, I maintain that if Europe wishes to tackle the issues surrounding women's employment and salaries, and succeed in the fight against discrimination, this must be achieved through better protection for pregnant women and new and nursing mothers.

PES women vice-president, Zita Gurmai added:

"Instead of showing solidarity between and for women around Europe and ensuring progress and equal rights across Europe, Europe is choosing to stagnate.

"How can Europe tackle its demographic challenge or ensure that we reach the EU2020 goal of having 75% of women in the labour market, if no measures are taken? I strongly encourage the EPSCO ministerial meeting in July on 'women in the labour market' to put forward concrete proposals on maternity, paternity and parental leave. As progressives, we do not want to leave anyone behind."

The Socialists and Democrats are calling  for a concrete timeframe roadmap to enhance conciliation between professional and private lives with legislative and non-legislative measures, including a directive on paternity leave of at least 10 days; a review of the 2010 directive on parental leave which has proven inefficient; and non-legislative measures to promote working time arrangements.