Self-employed may get maternity leave

Social affairs minister Piet Hein Donner is to investigate setting up a maternity leave scheme for self-employed women in response to a petition signed by 3,000 women calling on him to take action.

Agnes Jongerius, head of the FNV trade union federation, said self-employed women face discrimination compared with other workers who are covered under state-run schemes paid for by taxes.
‘They [self-employed] have to deal with the private sector, massive premiums and insurers who demand a two-year waiting period,’ said Jongerius. She pointed out that MPs voted last year in favour of a scheme for self-employed women which would cost between €20m and €30m a year.
Yesterday the health council published a report warning women not to leave it too late to have children because of the risk of infertility. Some 45% of Dutch women have their first child after the age of 30 and 15% are at least 35, making them the oldest first-time mothers in Europe.
The report pointed out that women who have children late earn up to 40% more than young mothers. ‘Employers invest less in young mothers than women who have first proved their worth,’ Joop Schippers, one of the report’s authors, told the Volkskrant.
Meanwhile an Intomart poll today concluded that 30% of Dutch firms do not want more women in senior positions. Only 16% want more women in top jobs, the rest are indifferent. And while a majority said women were ambitious enough to get to the top, 50% of managers said those that do only get there because of their appearance.

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