Currently the law states that a pregnant woman can have the first 6 weeks at 9% of their earnings with no upper limit and remaining 33 weeks at 90% of your weekly salary or £123.06 whichever is the lowest. Some employers have better maternity leave than others such as the NHS; you can get 6 months paid maternity and then 6 months unpaid with the guarantee of the same job when you return.
The statutory maternity pay is set to change if EU has anything to do with it. The EU would like all mothers to get 100% maternity pay and not the statutory 90% of earnings as it stands now. If this change comes into effect, the economy will lose £2bn a year just trying to cover this. Many companies and women have also stated their fears as many employers have said as a result of this they would go bankrupt. Due to this, it is feared that employers will only hire women over child bearing age and men, leading to discrimination.
The costs of raising a child is very expensive and the new law could help women to get on their feet quickly and recover from any financial woes associated with having a family. But employers will shun younger women in favour of older women even though they agree that women are the most hardworking.
Many women have also hit back saying 20 weeks maternity is just too long; some people go back to work as early as a few months but there was a head teacher who went back to work 7 hours after giving birth! This country is very lucky to even pay women when they go on maternity leave as some countries do not have such laws in place.
Other countries and their maternity rights
India – women are given 12 weeks full pay and even guaranteed 6 weeks full pay if they suffer a miscarriage
China – women are entitled to 90 days on full pay, women cannot be fired during pregnancy nor have their contract ended during maternity leave
US – women are offered 12 weeks unpaid leave with the guarantee of returning to the same job when they come back. Smaller businesses with staff count under 50 do not offer any maternity leave
Brazil – women are allowed 180 days leave and the same applies for women who adopt; the woman is entitled to full pay but cannot put their child in day care at this time
If the new maternity allowance increases, then the EU will have the best maternity pay rates in the world. Some women don’t even get paid, just the guarantee that they have work to come back to.