The FA Women's Super League contracts have no maternity leave guarantees, Manchester United goalkeeper Siobhan Chamberlain has revealed.
Speaking to Telegraph Sport, she explained that when she found out she was pregnant last June she had to arrange terms with her club as there are none built into the standard Football Association contracts that all players in the WSL and Championship sign.
Without their support, she would have just been entitled to statutory sick pay. In fact, Chamberlain told the paper that while the terms of her agreement are confidential, Manchester United was extremely supportive. They also gave her the chance to explore some of her other interests like media and photography while she was pregnant.
Chamberlain said: “It’s great that United supported me but it’s not just about me.”
“I think if I was at another club I wouldn’t have been looked after how I have been at United. Potentially, if there’s no maternity in the contract, then [it could be] a ‘You’re no use to us – see you later’ type thing.
“PR-wise it would be horrific for any club that would do that, because there should be maternity. It needs to be addressed, it’s about making sure other players that potentially aren’t at clubs that are as supportive still get looked after, and can have a child without losing their football contract or feeling that they don’t belong anymore, which is very possible.”
In response to the news, Marie Christine Bouchier, the new PFA director of women's football, told Telegraph Sport that: “One of the main priorities for 2020 is to work with the FA to establish a Professional Football Negotiating Consultative Committee in the women’s game.
“Enhanced maternity rights would be a key priority amongst other fundamental improvements that would be addressed by this committee.”
Should the WSL players succeed in getting maternity provisions written into their contracts, they would be following the likes of the WNBA who announced a landmark collective bargaining agreement this year providing extensive support to mothers.
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