Maternity Leave Extension Proposal Leads to Debate

New proposals extending maternity leave to 20 weeks and unveiling two weeks of paternity leave, which have been approved by the European Parliament, have led to a heated debate in Malta.
According to the European Industrial Relations Observatory (EIRO), employers say implementing such a measure will hurt the economy, and the government reaction has been muted, with both sides questioning the timing of such a proposal. (WCxKit)
Partit Laburista, the opposition party, supports the measure, and is urging the government to help employers fund it.
Maltese law already allows for the European minimum of 14 weeks of maternity leave, paid in full by employers.
The employers associations dislike the new proposal due to the fact they claim it would, according to a study conducted by the Malta Business Bureau (MBB), cost the employers an extra €12 million annually.
MBB claims this would damage the competitiveness of the Maltese economy and accuses the European Parliament of being ‘separated from the present economic needs. The bureau also fears it could be fatal for Maltese small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which serve a major role in the national economy.
Employers also state that firms may be less inclined to hire women due to the extra cost. Representatives of the employers associations contend that adopting this proposal would increase the gender wage gap, and may even reinforce the glass ceiling.
The Maltese governments two representatives in the European Parliament expressed their concern about this measure, stating that the extension was originally supposed to be 18 and not 20 weeks. (WCxKit)

However, although they voted against many of the proposals, in the final vote on the entire package they voted in favor.


Author Rebecca Shafer, JD, President of Amaxx Risks Solutions, Inc. is a national expert in the field of workers compensation. She is a writer, speaker and website publisher. Her expertise is working with employers to reduce workers compensation costs, and her clients include airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing. Contact: .

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