Maternity leave: deliver now or start from scratch 

Commission plans to withdraw a draft EU directive on maternity leave, after four years’ deadlock in the Council, will be debated in the light of EU Commission and Council statements on Tuesday afternoon. In a draft resolution to be put to a vote on Wednesday, MEPs call on the Council of Ministers to resume talks and state its official position.

If the European Commission does withdraw the draft law, then MEPs would urge it to table a new legislative initiative quickly, and in any event under the forthcoming Luxembourg Presidency of the Council.

The European Parliament amended the first draft in October 2010 to extend maternity leave from 14 to 20 weeks on full pay and introduce two weeks’ fully paid paternity leave.

Background note for editors

In October 2008, the Commission proposed to review the current legislation (Directive 92/85), as part of the "work-life balance" package, based on the ILO Maternity Protection Convention of 2000. In October 2010 the European Parliament closed its first reading and submitted the amended legislation to the Council. The Council has yet to state any position on the issue.


The Commission stated its intention to withdraw the draft proposal in line with its Regulatory Fitness and Performance Programme (REFIT).

Procedure: Council and Commission statement (with resolution)


Debate: Tuesday, 19 May

Vote: Wednesday, 20 May