WSL players win rights to maternity and long-term injury pay

February 2 – Players in the Women’s Super League and second-tier Championship will receive maternity and injury cover as part of an agreement between the English FA and the Professional Footballers Association (PFA). 

The cover will apply from next season. Under the new terms, a player taking maternity leave will be paid 100% of her weekly wage, as well as any other remuneration and benefits, for the first 14 weeks before dropping to the statutory rate. Players will also now receive their basic wage for the first 18 months following an injury, then half of their wage for the length of the injury thereafter, mirroring the injury rights of male players.

“This is a considerable uplift on the current minimum of statutory, and would previously have only applied to players who had been employed by their club from a minimum of 26 weeks. The new policy will have no qualifying period,” read a statement.

The new maternity policy will form part of a club’s licensing agreement and must be offered to players to ensure license criteria is met.

“Player welfare and wellbeing has always been our No 1 priority and this new policy ensures players are better supported, whether that’s going on maternity leave or as a result of a long-term injury,” said the FA’s director of the women’s professional game Kelly Simmons.

The PFA however warned much needs to be done to create a more level playing field between the men’s and the women’s game. The PFA’s director of women’s football Marie-Christine Bouchier said that the disparity between the rights of male and female players is emblematic of a wider disparity in conditions.

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