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English pro soccer leagues introduce guaranteed maternity provisions

Alex Morgan with daughter Charlie (Tottenham Hotspur FC/Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images)

For the first time, professional women’s soccer players in England will benefit from maternity and long-term sickness coverage in a historic change to their contracts.

In a landmark shift, Women’s Super League and Women’s Championship players will be guaranteed maternity leave, a provision that was previously left up to individual clubs.

“Over the last 16 months, the PFA has been working with the FA to address the significant disparities between the contractual rights and obligations of male and female players in English club football,” said Marie-Christine Bouchier, the Professional Footballers Association’s director of women’s football.

The PFA and FA have yet to disclose the details of the policy change.

“The PFA’s aim has been consistent throughout these talks — to ensure contractual parity for our female members compared to the men’s game,” Bouchier continued. “There is much still to be achieved, but these policy changes represent important milestones in what are ongoing discussions.”