Bosses resist full wage for new mothers
Published 09/03/2010 | 05:00
LESS than half of new mothers in Ireland receive their full salaries while on maternity leave, a new survey reveals.
As women all over the country celebrated International Women's Day yesterday, it emerged that employers here are strenuously resisting moves by the European Union that could force them to pay more.
The new survey by employers' group IBEC shows just 43pc of private companies here pay mothers their full wages during maternity leave by topping up the state maternity benefit.
This rises to over 60pc in larger companies employing more than 100 workers, while the public service pays new mums their full salaries. However, only one in four companies with less than 50 workers pays women anything at all on top of their state entitlement.
The European Parliament is now seeking to give mothers across the EU a boost by requiring them to get their full pay for a minimum of 20 weeks' maternity leave. Fathers would also benefit from two weeks paid paternity leave for the first time.
IBEC said that while the EU proposals were well intentioned, neither the Government nor employers could afford to pay the huge extra costs.
The National Women's Council of Ireland (NWCI) said they warmly welcomed the move.
Speaking at an NWCI conference to mark International Women's Day, president of the Senior Citizen's Parliament Sylvia Meehan said Irish society was hypocritical about women's rights. "We've made some progress but not enough. The heart of the matter is we need to get women into political power," she said.
Almost 100 years after it was first celebrated, individuals and organisations nationwide celebrated the day under the banner: 'Equal Rights, Equal Opportunities: Progress for All'.
Last night, people took part in a 'Take Back the Night' march from Trinity College, Dublin at 7pm to protest against violence and making the night safer.
The Rape Crisis Centre in Belfast celebrated its 28th anniversary, declaring "we are still here", despite the fact many men in positions of power "would prefer we would shut up". The Centre vowed it would continue to campaign for justice for survivors of rape and abuse.
Another conference held in Limerick to mark the international day heard that women were suffering more during the recession and stood a higher chance of being sacked.