We finally have some news about the EU Maternity Leave Directive – and it’s pretty desperate. But let us quickly recap what happened until now:
– the EU Maternity leave Directive was originally adopted in 1992, introducing measures to encourage improvements in the safety and health at work of pregnant workers, and workers who recently gave birth or are breastfeeding.
– There was a revision of this Directive, and as any Directive (aka binding legislation at EU level), it has to go through the co-decision procedure, which means, that the European Commission initiates, it goes for a 1st reading to the European Parliament, then to the Council (member states), and comes back for a 2nd reading to the European Parliament, after which it goes back to the Council for the final adoption.
Under normal circumstances this is a lengthy, but thorough process, and takes about a year. After all, now 28 EU Member States have to agree on a common law, which will set minimum standards in their countries.
The revised Maternity Leave Directive has been initiated by the Commission in 2008, the revised directive was adopted by a large majority in the European Parliament on 20 October 2010. As described above, then it went to the Council, who has been sitting on it since, without passing it back to the European Parliament for the 2nd reading. 10 Member States have been, and are still fervently blocking this piece of legislation, that would set important minimum standards for women about to give birth, and with new-born babies.
10 countries’ (1) ministers and heads of State have been sweeping this important directive under the EU policy making carpet for 5 years! In any democratic context, this is unacceptable.
Why this resistance you wonder? Well, it is, because the Directive sets a very high standard for pregnant women, namely, that once they give birth, they should be entitled to 100% of the salary they earned before for the 6 first weeks, (=full pay), without any ceilings or exceptions. Is this really too much to ask for?
Do we really so desperately undervalue motherhood and childbearing? Could this happen to a Directive, if it was serving the interest of industry or banks? I seriously doubt it. They can get away with it, because they think they can.
This is the last chance, the 25th hour to act. Before the 25th May, we need you to help us give the final push, to put pressure on Commission Vice-President Timmermans to take out the Maternity leave Directive from the bin, and demand the Council to send it back to the European Parliament, who under the leadership of MEP Maria Arena are ready to modernise the Directive and grant women in Europe the rights they deserve!
We will join forces with the European Women’s Lobby, and urge you to sign this petition, and spread it to as many of your friends and family as you can, to show EU decision makers, that women’s rights, and maternal rights do matter and deserve action!
Steps to take:
– Please sign the petition
– Share it with your friends on Facebook, ask them to sign
– Tweet about it, using the hashtag #DeliverNow and if you like also #theFinalPush
– Tweet to your Ministers, MPs and anybody of influence, especially in those 10 countries mentioned above.
Thank you! Together, we can make a statement and make a difference!
(1) Germany, the Netherlands, Latvia, Hungary, Denmark, Cyprus, Sweden, Slovakia, Slovenia, UK