Uproar has recently ensued not only amongst the British Government, but also UK HR payroll teams, following a European vote to increase the amount of paid maternity leave for female employees. Under current UK employment law, women have the choice to take up to a year off work when having a baby, during which they are paid 90% of their average salary or wages for six months, £125.00 statutory maternity pay for thirty three weeks and the remainder as unpaid leave.
However, the favourable EU vote could equate to up to twenty weeks of full pay for women taking maternity leave, although British Government Ministers and business leaders alike are in firm opposition to any such changes due to the financial burden they would place on the both the public and business purses.
Besides the financial implications, both are deeply concerned about the potential impact on women’s’ career prospects and consequent sexual discrimination that could become increasingly commonplace to HR payroll professionals across all sizes and sectors of British business. Such potential higher costs amidst an already fragile economy could prevent employers from recruiting and promoting women.
Alistair Tebbit of the Institute of Directors has summed up their feelings, stating, “The state can’t afford twenty weeks of maternity pay at 100% of earnings. If this measure comes in to force the Government may require employers to pick up the £2.5billion bill, or at least part of it. The effect on small firms, almost none of which can afford to supplement statutory maternity pay, would be very severe”.
At Moorepay, we continue to offer sound expert HR payroll advice to our diverse client base with regards to the current maternity pay and rights of female employees and any future changes forthwith. Our guidance is invaluable for keeping businesses on the right side of employment law and we also offer complementary services should any related litigation arise.