20th June 2011


Conservative MEP for the South West, Ashley Fox, has expressed his approval of the decision of EU employment ministers to shelve proposals forcing employers to provide 20 weeks maternity leave on full pay.


If this proposal had gone through it would have cost British businesses £2.5 billion a year. This shocking figure only came to light when Conservative MEPs and their European colleagues forced the European Parliament’s Women’s Committee to carry out an impact assessment.


The proposal was previously approved by the European Parliament in 2010 when MEPs voted by a very slim margin to raise the minimum level of maternity pay. This has now been blocked by national governments.


Ashley Fox said:


“I am pleased that European employment ministers have come to this conclusion. Raising the cost of maternity entitlement may be an aspirational goal but at a time of economic recovery the cost to business is too great. We need the economy to grow, and we need small businesses to prosper, but putting additional regulations and additional costs on them is not the way to achieve this.


Such a move would also have a negative impact on women, making it more likely that they would face discrimination in the workplace as businesses struggle to afford these arrangements.


The Commission needs to learn how to look beyond the immediate impact of regulations and see the true effect they have on the economic recovery.”


Ashley Fox MEP for the South West & Gibraltar

5 Westfield Park



Tel: 0117 973 7050


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