EU maternity plans ‘unaffordable’ says business group

Click here for this BBC story, introduced by:

European plans to change maternity rights will cost UK firms £2.5bn a year, a business group has warned.

What will happen if some mothers decide they don’t want to be separated from their precious baby after 20 weeks maternity leave on full pay?  Will they have to pay the money back ?  If they no longer have the money available will the resulting ‘debt’  force  mothers back into the workplace against their wishes,  just when they’ve realised (too late)  how very attached they’ve become to their child?!  

Maternity pay seems good in principle,  allowing mothers to stay at home for 5 months,  but in fact is it just another back door way of ensuring that mums return to work during the early months? (The quicker you get them back to work the less likely they are to take too long a career break).   From a childhood perspective 5 months is very early in a baby’s life and many mothers hope to stay at home for at least the pre-school years, if not longer, particularly if the family grows and a sibling is born.

Furthermore what about recognition for the mum who has already decided she won’t be returning to the office – will she be penalised for this decision and, if so, is this not social engineering?   What are the policy makers trying to recognise here –  is it the importance of supporting mothers, being seen to have non-discriminatory policies,  or is it supporting just a certain brand of career focussed motherhood?    We need a level playing field for all families,  including those parents who choose to raise children on just one income, whilst the other parent stays at home to do the caring.  Caring is undervalued and yet it is one of the biggest contributions you can make for the next generation.  

Thankfully, it seems that we are realising we can no longer afford to make it difficult for parents to look after their own children.

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