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Does the UK need to increase Maternity Pay?

DM
BY Donald MacKinnon
Employment Law & HR
BG Purple

It has recently been revealed that the UK has one of the lowest rates of Maternity Pay in Europe. Slovakia and Ireland are below us on the list but that’s it. The TUC has called for maternity to be paid at least the minimum wage rate.

Mothers in the UK receive 90 per cent of their pay for the first six weeks. That falls to £140.98 per week (or continues at 90 per cent, if that is lower) for the next 33 weeks, with tax and national insurance deducted. There is no statutory pay after 39 weeks. This is much lower than the rest of Europe.

Frances O’Grady of the TUC stated;

“The UK is in the relegation zone when it comes to decently paid maternity leave. Many European countries offer decent support to new mums. But lots of parents here are forced back to work early to pay the bills.”

The TUC are using the phrase “decently paid” when discussing this issue and say that although allowing mothers 52 weeks’ leave is commendable, it’s not worth much if they can’t afford it. Croatia pay six months “decent pay” according to the TUC, while Poland, Hungary and Czech Republic pay 4 months.

According to the CIPD, 58% of UK Employers pay enhanced maternity pay but are being encouraged to look beyond just pay alone and consider childcare, training and development as a whole.

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