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Withdrawal of Maternity Leave Directive

European Commission decision a blow to social and family policy


The European Commission today announced its decision to withdraw the Maternity Leave Directive. With the current draft Directive blocked at the European Council, the Commission proposes to replace it with a new proposal in the coming year. MEP Monika Vana, member of the Women’s rights and Employment and social affairs committees, criticised the European Commission’s decision:

“This decision to withdraw the Maternity Leave Directive is very telling. The Juncker Commission is backtracking on social policies including those with a particular impact on women and this sounds the death knell for one of the few policies that would have improved citizens’ social rights. Although the Commission has announced a new initiative aimed at better reconciling work, family and leisure activities for the coming year, all the evidence so far shows that the new proposals will not go as far as those set out in this Directive. The European Commission has failed on social and family policies.”

Greens/EFA MEP Ernest Urtasun, member of the Women’s rights committee, added:

“It is the European Commission’s role to push the EU leaders to find a compromise. Instead of this, the Commission has rewarded the blocking by certain governments with the withdrawal of the Directive. In so doing they ignore the European Parliament’s resolution in 2010 which clearly called for higher minimum standards on maternity and paternity leave. The Commission has failed to respect the EU’s democratic decision-making process.”