Following on from our recent e-alert, the EU Council of Ministers has now held a policy debate on the European Parliament’s proposal to increase maternity pay to full pay for the first 20 weeks of maternity leave.

By a large majority of ministers this proposal was rejected as concerns were expressed regarding the cost implications of extending paid maternity leave.

The Council concluded that the original proposal to extend the minimum length of maternity leave from 14 to 18 weeks throughout the EU would be a more acceptable basis for a compromise.

This would not affect UK employment law as mothers are already entitled to take 52 weeks maternity leave.