Europeans vote to give mothers 20 weeks' paid leave
Women has integral and moral right to have it,the court verdict is only the confermation of it.
STRASBOURG: European MPs voting amid a sea of pink and blue balloons have endorsed a contested plan to offer mothers across Europe five months of fully-paid maternity leave.
But conservative parliamentarians as well as the European Commission immediately cautioned that in times of economic constraint, the vote might not translate into action.
The EU Justice Commissioner, Viviane Reding, said: ''If we want to move towards gender equality in the workplace, we must find the right balance between concrete rights for mothers and the current economic realities facing businesses in the EU.''
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The vote on Wednesday proposes raising maternity leave from 14 weeks to 20 and giving fathers two weeks to spend time with their newborn. A first reading of the plan now goes to EU governments.
The commission initially had suggested 18 weeks maternity leave, in line with recommendations by the International Labour Organisation.
Some governments said that the 20-week fully paid leave would add a huge burden to hard-pressed economies and business leaders said it may work against giving jobs to women in the long term.
Britain, which on the same day unveiled its harshest spending cuts in decades, said it would add up to £2.4 billion ($3.9 billion) a year to its its maternity leave bill, more than doubling it.
The Portuguese Socialist MEP Edite Estrela, who introduced the bill, said: ''Maternity must be standardised. It is a service rendered to society but the rules vary from one country to another. Our societies need children.''
She said the costs of the bill would be covered if only 1.4 per cent more women went to work. ''In the UK, costs will be covered if just 0.4 per cent more women are able to carry on working.''