Labour & Socialist MEPs call for stronger EU-wide maternity and paternity rights - while Tories vote against

 Labour MEPs have today called on the European Commission to present a new legislative proposal to protect pregnant workers and provide stronger maternity and paternity rights.

The resolution - which Tory MEPs voted against - follows four years of deadlock over the 2010 maternity leave directive which aims to extend the minimum length of maternity leave and protect the health and safety of workers who have recently returned to work after giving birth.

EWL Matenrity Leave MEP campaign

MEPs also called for legislation to establish paid paternity leave.

Julie said after the vote:

"I am proud that my colleagues in the Socialist and Democrats Group have stood determined and undeterred on this, to hold Member State governments in the Council of Ministers to account. There must be a push towards strong maternity and paternity leave, empowering women economically across Europe."

Mary Honeyball MEP, added:

"Unlike the Tories, who voted against today's resolution, Labour has led the way in advancing the rights of working parents.

"If women are to play their full part in our economic recovery, and if we are to boost employment, it is clear we need to provide flexibility for mothers returning to the labour market after pregnancy.

"This is why Europe needs a modern maternity leave framework that enables mothers, and fathers, to balance their work and family lives."