By Max Clarke

Proposals by the European Parliament to extend 20 weeks of maternity leave on full pay across the EU have today faced a major setback and risk being derailed entirely.

UK ministers, along with representatives from 13 other EU member states voiced their reservations about the ‘socially regressive’ proposal at the meeting of the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council of Ministers in Brussels.

"This is a good result,” commented UK’s Employment Relations Minister, Edward Davey on news of the Progress Report’s setback. “The fact that so many other Member States have echoed our worries sends a clear message that this one-size-fits-all measure is not in the best interests for Europe and certainly not in the best interests for the UK."

Discussions on the proposed Directive can now go no further unless Ministers agree a Common Position.

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