UK maternity pay amongst the lowest in Europe

family life

Rates of statutory maternity pay in the United Kingdom are amongst the lowest in Europe the TUC has claimed.

Briitsh women are entitled to a total of 52 weeks’ maternity leave. The first six weeks are normally payable at 90 per cent of their regular wage. The rate then falls to just £139.58 a week (unless 90 per cent of their weekly wage is lower).

These rates compare very unfavourably to much of the rest of Europe the Trades Union Congress has noted following recent research. On a ranking of 24 European countries by the amount of time “decent” levels of maternity pay are offered, the UK only appears at number 22, above only Ireland and Slovakia.

The TUC defines “decent” as at least two thirds of a woman’s salary when at work.

Croatia tops the chart, with six months of “decent” maternity pay, followed by Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic, who all offer more than four months.

Eight countries are listed as offering more than three months of pay at a “decent” rate: France, Denmark, Malta, Switzerland, Estonia, Italy, Spain, and Belgium.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:

“The UK is in the relegation zone when it comes to decently paid maternity leave. Many European countries offer decent support to new mums, but lots of parents here are forced back to work early to pay the bills.”

A spokesman for the government tha the UK’s maternity leave provisions were still amongst the most generous in the world because mothers entitled to a full year off work.

Image by Howard Lake via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence

Stowe Family Law Web Team

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