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EU court rules pregnant worker entitled to income support

[JURIST] The Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) [official website] on Thursday ruled [judgment; press release, pdf] that a pregnant Frenchwoman was entitled to income support after she stopped working in Britain. The woman, Jessie Saint Prix, entered the UK in 2006 and has worked as teaching assistant and other in school jobs. Saint Prix decided to stop working when she was six months pregnant. Upon ceasing work, UK authorities denied Saint Prix the right to income support because they deemed that she lost her status as a worker. In the UK, a woman who is considered to be "from abroad" is not entitled to the same income support when faced with a pregnancy and must maintain the status of a worker to qualify. Three months after giving birth Saint Prix went back to work and filed a lawsuit claiming she did not lose her status as a worker during the brief period of leave. The ECJ ruled that she did not lose her status as a worker and was entitled to benefits because she was on leave for a reasonable time and resumed work after giving birth.

The ECJ previously ruled on pregnant women's rights in 2010. In 2010 the ECJ ruled [JURIST report] in two judgments that under EU law [Directive 92/85 text, PDF] a pregnant worker temporarily transferred or granted leave on account of her pregnancy is entitled to pay [judgments] equivalent to the average earnings she received before her pregnancy. The ECJ also called for improvements at the workplace for the safety and health of pregnant workers and workers who have recently given birth or are breastfeeding. The ECJ's rulings have become binding on all EU member nations.

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