The FA and PFA have made a landmark agreement that will see players in the Barclays FA WSL and FA Women’s Championship receive enhancements to maternity, injury and illness and termination of contract for long-term injury.
The new agreement will come into effect from the 2022/23 season following consultation with clubs in England’s top two divisions of the women’s game, with the FA WSL and FA WC board ratifying the agreement.
The new maternity policy will form part of a club’s licensing agreement, and must be offered to players to ensure license criteria is met. The other uplifts will form part of a revised Standard Contract for Women’s Football.
Under the new policy, a player going on maternity leave will be paid 100% of her weekly wage, as well as any other renumeration and benefits for the first 14 weeks, before reverting to applicable statuary rate.
This is a considerable uplift on the current minimum of statutory, and would previously have only applied to players who had been employed by their club from a minimum of 26 weeks. The new policy will have no qualifying period.
As well as maternity cover, the new agreement will also see players receive long-term sickness pay that mirrors the men’s game in all new contracts.
Players will now receive their basic wage for the first 18 months if an injury occurs, then one half of their wage for the length of the injury thereafter. Previously, players received six months’ pay.
There will also be more protection for players relating to termination of contract as a result of injury. If a player has been incapacitated for injury or illness for a period of 18 months in a consecutive period of 20 months, a club can be entitled to serve notice, with the length of any notice being 12 months. Prior to this, the notice period was three months.
Kelly Simmons, The FA’s Director of the Women’s Professional Game, said: “I am delighted that we have been able to put this agreement in place and it is another significant step forward for the women’s game.
“Player welfare and wellbeing has always been our number one priority and this new policy ensures players are better supported, whether that’s going on maternity leave or as a result of a long-term injury.
“This objective was written into our Women’s Pro Game Strategy that we released last year, so I am pleased we have been able to achieve this.”