date: 6 December 2010
embargo: for immediate release
Commenting on government plans to oppose the extension of fully paid maternity leave to 20 weeks at a meeting of the EU Employment Council (EPSCO) in Brussels today (Monday), TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said:
'The UK has one of the shortest periods of fully paid leave in the EU, so extending it to 20 weeks will benefit the millions of families who struggle financially when having a baby.
'Government research shows that increasing maternity pay encourages women to return to their employer. Ministers should be encouraging this, not looking for new ways to impoverish parents.
'Rather than pandering to the same old carping from businesses who have opposed every extension of parental leave and pay, the government should consider the needs of parents and their babies, who have suffered enough from tax and benefit cuts and need all the help they can get to pay for childcare.'
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Issued: 6 December, 2010