The European Union is advocating improved protection for women who must quit work in order to have a child. The goal is assisting people to balance professional and personal lives in a manner that goals of both can be attained. The new legislation would “help women to combine work and family life, improving their, and their family’s quality of life.” Under the proposal, there would be an extension of maternity leave from fourteen to eighteen weeks across the member states. Currently, nations offer maternity leave ranging from 14 weeks in Germany to 28 in the Czech Republic. The plan also introduces a new principle of full pay while on maternity leave although it would allow some nations to establish a lower rate as long as it does not go below what is paid for sick leave.
Some critics argue the plan would encourage employers not to hire women if they knew about the maternity leave process. Others claim the EU is meddling in social affairs of member states.
Each time an idea is introduced to protect working people, critics come out with the same argument. The idea of a minimum wage was denounced by conservative critics as driving businesses into bankruptcy. Maternity leave is needed and women have the right to care for a child without damaging their career or financial situation.