Thursday December 7, 2023

Maternity Protections

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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FIFA is set to introduce new maternity leave protections for female soccer players and coaches, marking the first time there will be a worldwide standard in the sport.

  • Under the new rules, which still need FIFA Council approval in December, players would be entitled to a minimum of 14 weeks of maternity leave while making at least two-thirds of their salary. 
  • Clubs would also be “under an obligation to reintegrate” players to the team upon returning and provide “adequate ongoing medical support.”

FIFA could impose transfer bans on any clubs not meeting the new standards. National governing bodies can also put higher standards in place.

Laying the groundwork: Back in January, the WNBA and its players’ association announced a new collective bargaining agreement that included fully paid maternity leave for the first time in the history of professional women’s sports. 

  • Players also won some family planning benefits, including up to $60,0000 in reimbursement for veteran players for costs associated with adoption, surrogacy, and fertility options like egg freezing. 

Leagues aren’t the only entities with power in this space, however. Brands, including Nike, have recently changed policies at the demand of sponsored athletes to ensure they are not financially penalized for taking maternity leave from their sport.

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