Press release

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Maternity leave

Commission must not abandon mothers and fathers by shelving key law proposal

The European Commission yesterday indicated it would be withdrawing proposals to revise EU rules on maternity leave. The Greens hit out at this decision, which was part of a wider package of laws to be withdrawn, and called on the Commission to reverse the proposal. Commenting on this, Greens/EFA co-president Rebecca Harms said:

"The withdrawal of this crucial legislative reform would be a very bad start to the new legislative period. This is a clear sop to David Cameron and the UK but it comes at the cost of mothers and fathers, whose health and welfare these proposals were aimed at strengthening. The EU Parliament has taken a clear position in favour of strengthening EU rules on maternity leave. It is cynical of the Barroso Commission to use this period when the Parliament is concentrating on its formation to try and slip through such far-reaching decisions unnoticed."

Green equality and women's rights spokesperson Terry Reintke added:

"This much-needed and delayed review was aimed to bring EU rules on maternity leave in line with the recommendations of the World Health Organisation. For the Greens, this implies increasing the current minimum guaranteed maternity leave from 14 to 22 weeks and providing for the mandatory right to paternity leave for fathers, who are also clearly impacted by and involved in the birth of a child. Clearly, as a bare minimum, we believe the Commission's original proposals and the European Parliament's vote should be respected. To this end, we will fight to ensure these crucial proposals are not shelved."