SOURCE: S&D Group at European Parliament
The Maternity Leave Directive Must be Kept Alive
S&D Group spokeswoman on Women's rights Maria Arena (Belgium) said: It is shameful that the EU council was unable to reach a decision in the last four years. We need urgently to update the EU law from 1992 to take into account the evolution of our societies.
"It is crucial to protect the safety and health of pregnant women against any lay off or any form of discrimination. The fight for a better balance between work and private life has always been a priority for the Socialists and democrats."
S&D Euro MP and new European Parliament's negotiator Alessandra Moretti (Italy) added: At the beginning of the new legislature, we have the chance to build a new Europe that gives hope to its citizens. How could we possibly speak about hope when a woman has to choose between giving birth to a new life or saving money to survive?
"Europe must invest in women and give them the chance to reconcile work with their private life. Europe will be stronger and richer with the participation of women on the labour market.
"We have five years ahead of us to wake up Europe and put it on the tracks of progress and growth. We will start right now under the Italian presidency"
Under the leadership of S&D Euro MP Edite Estrela, the European Parliament has adopted in October 2010 an ambitious first-reading agreement. According to this agreement, every woman in Europe should be at least granted 20 weeks of full paid maternity leave. It also proposed to introduce a two week paternity leave.