After an excited Siobhan Chamberlain announced that she was pregnant with her first child last June, breaking the news to her club, Manchester United, she alongside manager Casey Stoney discovered that there was no guarantee of maternity leave in her Football Association standard contract.
England and Man United goalkeeper, Chamberlain gave birth in January to a baby girl and has since revealed that the FA Women’s Super League (FA WSL) contracts do not include maternity benefits.
Welcome to the world Emilia Francesca Moore! 🥰
I never knew it was possible to love anyone so much! ❤️❤️❤️ pic.twitter.com/jEfZNSSWUh
— Siobhan ⚽️👐🏼 (@Sio_Chamberlain) February 7, 2020
“It was obviously as much of a surprise to Casey as it was to me. I got quite emotional – but I’ll blame it on the hormones,” Chamberlain told Telegraph Sport.
“She [Casey] was great – she’s a mother herself. She supported me and reassured me that the club would too. I think that was one of the biggest things, that there’s no maternity in women’s football contracts.”
Despite the FA WSL relaunching in 2018 with the FA making players in the top tier full-time professionals which is a big step in Women’s football, the players are only legally entitled to statutory maternity pay and leave.
“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,” added Chamberlain.
Proud of you @Sio_Chamberlain!
You always talk about leaving the game in a better place than you found it.
— Leigh Moore (@Leigh_Moore) March 22, 2020
“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.”
The 36-year-olf shot stopper has earned 50 caps for England and made 27 appearances for Man United since signing from Liverpool last summer.
After going on strike last November, Spain’s top-flight female footballers signed their first collective agreement on pay and conditions in February. The agreement includes maternity leave [full pay] among other benefits.
PFA director of women’s football, Marie Christine Bouchier said that one of the main priorities in 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,” she said.
By FARPost Reporter