Viva l'Italia

Some 22 years after its entry into force the maternity leave directive seems outdated. The Parliament voted in October 2010 to extend maternity leave to at least 20 fully-paid weeks, but four years later this is still being blocked by governments in the EU Council. The European Commission now wants to withdraw the proposal. According to the Italian MEP Alessandra Moretti (S&D) it is time to break through.

The aim is to enhance responsibility of both parents

“I am confident, but at the same time I know that the economic crisis is hindering the work-life balance. We must meet half way and promote a cultural change. Maternity should not be seen as a cost. If the new reform is just a way to protect maternity and not to enhance responsibility of both parents, we will not make a breakthrough. There is a right to be parent, a right to protect children, and this right belongs to both parents”.

We will try to realise why the previous reform attempts have failed

The reform received favourable response by the European Commission, on condition that the Parliament and the Council would reach a common agreement on the steps forward. It is clear that it is a hard to get a compromise. We need to listen to all the positions, respecting all the Parliament voices. Now we will try to realise why the previous reform attempts have failed.The Italian EU Council Presidency is pushing for an agreement

The Italian government cares about gender equality

Only few governments in Europe respect the gender balance as Renzi’s government does. The Italian EU Council Presidency is pushing for an agreement but we are at the very beginning of negotiations.

Ideological barriers

There are ideological barriers in all parties. We encounter difficulties whenever we look at the role of women and equal opportunities at work. Yet female work has been recognised as a growth engine and social promoter. If women worked as much as men, the European GDP would be higher. Nevertheless, we must remember the salary gap: today women earn 20% less than men.In the EU-28 there are many differences, there are countries that have made progress and other that are lagging behind. North Europe is still a model for us. However, Italy is not among the worst. In our country pregnant women are entitled to a maternity leave of 22 continuous weeks paid 80% of the average monthly salary”.

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