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Bearing down on costs is something of a mantra these days – unless you’re a member of the Fifa executive committee. And, it appears, the employer’s best friend, the European Union.
It wants to extend maternity pay to 20 weeks of gross salary. This is significantly more than current arrangements where mothers/mothers-to-be are entitled to 90 per cent of average gross weekly earnings with no upper limit for the first six weeks of maternity leave. For the remaining 33 weeks maternity pay is set at the lower of either the standard rate of £124.88, or 90 per cent of average gross weekly earnings.
Of course more generous employers, especially those in the professions, will pay far more than this. Employers can also recover a significant amount of the maternity pay they shell out from the public purse.
Well the talk at the EU is that mothers on maternity leave should get full pay for 20 weeks but no word on the other 19 weeks – though one dreads to think what they may devise for that.
Employers need this like they need an Irish bank account. Lib Dem Business Secretary Ed Davey is expected to tell the Euristas that UK plc could do without ramping up maternity pay
Ironic that this comes shortly after recent political bitching about parents only having children if they can afford them and that only the poor can afford more than one child.
He said it was not the duty of the state to fund an increasing number of offspring with benefits.His comments came days after Chancellor George Osborne announced that no family should receive more than £500 a week in benefits. If some at the EU have their way it will be employers who are footing much of the bill.
Surely increasing maternity pay by as much as the EU wants will not advance the women’s cause and will serve only to increase the burden of costs on employers?
Oh well, it’s progress.