Since Parliament adopted its position on the revision of the Maternity Leave Directive (92/85/EEC), on 20 October 2010 (P7_TA(2010)0373), the Council has not reached a formal position on this proposal. Nevertheless, we are aware that several Member States have voiced concerns over the amendments adopted by Parliament and the related cost implications, in particular as regards extension of the duration of maternity leave (to 20 weeks), the level of allowance (full pay) and leave provisions for fathers (two weeks’ paternity leave on full pay).
Bearing in mind the current financial crisis and the differing existing maternity leave systems in the Member States, Parliament is willing to be flexible and is available to work with the Council to reach an agreement which will fulfil the needs and expectations of European families and of the European economy. It should also be noted that in order to reach the 75% employment rate for women, as set out in the EU 2020 strategy, further measures to facilitate the reconciliation of work and family life will have to be implemented, and it is very important for the Council to unblock the situation and arrive at a formal position so that discussions can begin with Parliament with a view to reaching compromises.
Is the Council prepared to consider compromises on the main issues, such as the duration of maternity leave, the level of payment and the ceiling?
In view of the austerity measures stemming from the current financial crisis, would the Council consider the possibility of gradual implementation of the revised directive, as proposed by Parliament?
With a view to arriving at more flexible implementation arrangements, does the Council accept the need to discuss a ‘passerelle’ clause, in particular in relation to the recently revised Parental Leave Directive (96/34/EC), which will have to be implemented by the Member States from 2012?
Does the Council aim to support paternity leave in this directive?
How does the Council envisage the role of the social partners in the forthcoming negotiations?