24 MARCH 2017

Statutory maternity pay for UK mothers is among the worst in Europe, according to new analysis by the TUC and the Leave Network, with only Ireland and Slovakia having worse entitlements among 24 European countries.

Following its report, the trade body says maternity leave should be at least as much as the minimum wage so mothers do not have to return to work prematurely.

Fawcett Chief Executive Sam Smethers says:

“In theory mothers get a generous length of maternity leave but many feel they have to go back to work before they are ready simply because they can’t afford to stay off. Others would share leave with their baby’s father but it’s paid so low that he can’t afford to take it either. So everybody loses out.”

“We need maternity and paternity pay that is paid close to replacement rate so that mothers and fathers can afford to take it and a longer dedicated period of non-transferable leave for dads so that parents can choose to genuinely share care.”

Key findings from the report include:

  • UK comes 22nd out of 24 for ‘decently paid’ maternity leave (measured as two-thirds of a woman’s salary, or more than £840 a month)
  • Croatia comes first, with six months paid maternity leave
  • Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic are next, with more than four months
  • Estonia, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Denmark, France, Malta, and Switzerland offer more than three months

Read more

Read about maternity rights and maternity discrimination in the UK here.