Maternity pay proposals 'costly and regressive'Monday 6th December 2010
Employment Relations Minister Edward Davey is today in Brussels continuing the UK Government’s lobbying on the Pregnant Workers Directive.
Davey will attend a meeting of the EU Employment Council (EPSCO) – the first opportunity that Member States have had to discuss proposals put forward by MEPs in October.
The Government is concerned that a move to 20 weeks of maternity leave at full pay, as proposed by the European Parliament, would impose considerable and unacceptable additional costs on many Member States at a time when economies across the EU can least afford it.
Ministers also believe that the proposals put forward are socially regressive.
Davey said: "The proposals put forward by MEPs would be extremely costly to business and also to the public purse. They are also socially regressive – the greatest benefits would be obtained by those earning the most - and the rigid model being proposed would make it hard for countries to develop systems of shared parental leave which would offer better support to working parents.
"I will be lobbying against these costly and regressive proposals today and making our case to Member States – I know that many of them already share our concerns.
"Minimum standards across Europe are important, but countries also need the flexibility to put in place arrangements that work for them in their own individual circumstances.
"We are absolutely committed to creating the best possible family-friendly environment in the UK, but the solutions on the table today are not the best way to help."
It is estimated that the proposals put forward by the European Parliament would cost the UK more than £2billion per year.
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End of beginning as downturn slows slightly
The seasonally-adjusted CIPS/Markit Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rose to 42.9 in April from 39.1 the previous month, but was lower than last year’s figure of 49.7. Despite remaining below the neutral 50.0 mark (a figure less than 50 indicates a contraction) for the 13th month running, the PMI moved further from February’s joint survey record low.