Harcus Sinclair v Your Lawyers - Another nail in the coffin of solicitors’ undertakings?
The European Parliament had put forward proposals to increase maternity pay to 20 weeks leave at full pay and to include rights to paternity leave in EU directives. However, the Council of Europe, which is the next step in passing legislation in the EU, rejected these proposals citing the cost as a major concern.
Our own government lobbied hard against the proposals, worried about the costs in light of other public spending cuts. Some argued that the burden would be intolerable on small business but given that the costs would almost all be reimbursed by the government that argument seems to be more about scare tactics than reality.
Others argued that the proposals would set gender equality back decades as employers would no longer employ women of child bearing age. Given the wide range of ages at which women have children in the modern work place, this argument would seem to suggest that employer would choose not to employ women between the ages of approximately 18 to 45. Any employer thinking of acting like that should probably be more worried about a sex discrimination claim than a few months of maternity leave.
The refusal of the EU to accept that paternity leave should have protection and to refocus some of the debate on protection for whoever looks after the children rather than just women, maybe of more concern to some.
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