New mums in UK receive just  6 weeks of decently-paid maternity leave, only mothers in Ireland and Slovakia have worse decently-paid entitlement.

UK mums get one of the lowest amounts of decently-paid maternity leave in Europe, according to new TUC analysis published  ahead of Mother’s Day on Sunday.

The UK ranks 22 out of 24 amongst European countries that offer statutory maternity leave. While mums in the UK only get six weeks’ decently-paid maternity leave, most European countries offer three months or more:

Croatia comes in at the highest with six months paid maternity leave, followed by Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic who offer more than four months, and Estonia, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Denmark, France, Malta and Switzerland who offer more than three months.

The only European countries offering less decently-paid maternity leave than the UK are Ireland and Slovakia, where mums do not get any decently-paid time off.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:

“The UK is in the relegation zone when it comes to decently-paid maternity leave.

“Many Europeans countries offer decent support to new mums. But lots of parents here are forced back to work early to pay the bills.

“My advice to all new mums is to join a union. It is the best way to improve your pay and conditions.”

Director of Maternity Action Ros Bragg said:

“Without adequate maternity pay, women’s choices are limited and many cannot afford to take their leave entitlements. We should be investing in support for pregnant women and new families.

If you are interested in the issues surrounding maternity, paternity and shared parental leave then sign up to our free live webinar running on the 6th April at 11am.





Rebecca joined the HRreview editorial team in January 2016. After graduating from the University of Sheffield Hallam in 2013 with a BA in English Literature, Rebecca has spent five years working in print and online journalism in Manchester and London. In the past she has been part of the editorial teams at Sleeper and Dezeen and has founded her own arts collective.