Draft legislation has been passed by an EU committee proposing an extension to maternity leave to 20 weeks on full pay. Considering current UK legislation gives workers up to a year of maternity leave with the first six weeks at 90 per cent of full pay and the remainder at statutory pay, the impact of this proposed change is potentially huge. Current estimates suggest the cost to UK businesses could be up to £2billion a year.

Currently, employers are able to claim back much of the statutory maternity pay paid, however, with this significant increase, employers inevitably would have to shoulder more of the burden. Predictably, in this economic environment there has been much opposition to the proposal and so the implementation of such legislation into the UK is a long way off.