A number of mind-bogglingly awful contract laws that make a mockery of women’s football could be overhauled very soon, following more than a year of negotiations between the PFA and FA.
As things stand, a player in the Women’s Super League (WSL) can have their contract cancelled if they suffer an injury that a medical professional deems could keep them side-lined for a period of three months or more.
Under planned reform, players will now be paid their salary for the first 18 months after the injury is suffered, before dropping down to half their wage for the rest of the injured period thereafter – the same as for male players.
And under the terms of the new Family Leave Policy, players that take maternity time off will be able to claim 100% of their pay for the first 14 weeks that they are away, before dropping to the UK statutory rate.
The PFA is pleased to have secured three significant policy changes on player’s contracts in the WSL and Women’s Championship.
However, there is still much work to be done. Find out more about the changes achieved and the PFA’s next priorities… https://t.co/K0YCsfPMFj
— Professional Footballers’ Association (@PFA) February 1, 2022
It finally brings some sense and parity for women footballers compared to those in the standard workplace, with the new framework also offering additional protections to those that take time out of the game to start a family. Before the reform, each WSL and Championship club was able to determine its own maternity, injury and illness rules.
It brings an end to 16 months of negotiations and bargaining between the Professional Footballers’ Association and the Football Association, with the former securing ‘significant policy changes’ that could apply to all 24 clubs in the WSL and Women’s Championship system.
Kelly Simmons, the director of women’s football at the FA, 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.”
While these are excellent steps forward for women’s football, there is still a long way to go before the beautiful game for both genders achieves anything approaching parity.
The new reforms in the women’s game will apply to new contracts signed going forward, and the concern is that those on pre-existing deals could be left behind by their teammates in what would be a ‘two tiered’ system of inequality.
The director of women’s football at the PFA, Marie-Christine Bouchier, said that the disparity needs to be tackled head on.
“It is vital the new changes are adopted by all, as opposed to being implemented on a piecemeal basis, as each player enters into a new contract,” she said.
“We can’t have a situation where players are expected to continue working under what is now agreed as a deficient employment contract. It is not acceptable to create a two-tier employment system.”