The UCI will introduce a new maternity clause to its contracts between self-employed riders and Women’s WorldTeams, which will be the top-tier of teams racing on the Women's WorldTour in 2020. The teams will also be required to pay a minimum salary to their riders, which is set to start at a lower-than-expected €15,000 in the first year but gradually increase to equal the men’s Professional Continental Teams in 2023.
The maternity leave clause, which is included in the self-employed standard contract, will allow for women to take three months leave while being entitled to 100 per cent of their salary, followed by an additional five months at 50 per cent of their salary.
"This is just the basic right of every woman," said Iris Slappendel, executive director of The Cyclists' Alliance, a riders’ union that provides athletes with contract and educational support, career advice, and legal and retirement assistance. She applauded the UCI for the steps it is taking to include a maternity clause into the Women’s WorldTour reforms.
The latter includes the maternity-related article 2.13.192 that states: "A rider temporarily prevented from exercising their activity as a cyclist, due to pregnancy, shall be entitled to 100 per cent of their salary for a period of 3 months and 50 per cent of their salary for another period of 5 months, and the amount to be paid may not be less than the minimum salary stipulated in Article 2.13.177.
In addition to the maternity clause, stand-out elements of the self-employed contracts include higher standards for insurance. In 2020 and 2021, women will be entitled to health and maternity insurances, and by 2022, a pension plan will be included.
The UCI’s amendments states that Women’s WorldTeams shall ensure their compliance with the applicable social security legislation in their capacity as an employer, so that the rider will be entitled to the benefits granted by law to full-time workers; or take out and assume the costs of the following kinds of insurance: Health, Maternity and Pension.
Minimum salary starts at €15,000 (employed) and €24,000 (self-employed). Self-employed riders have a higher minimum salary as they must pay their own tax and social security.
"It’s great that there is a plan and something to aim for," Slappendel said. "You have to set the bar somewhere, and if you set it super low, then it makes no sense to create a WorldTour. I think it’s a good step."
Women’s WorldTeams secure four-year licences
The UCI is aiming to welcome five teams to the new Women’s WorldTeam category in 2020. The goal is to gain five new teams each year after until 15 teams form the top-tier in 2022.
The duration of each team licence will vary from two to four years. Teams that are part of the Women’s WorldTeams in 2020 will keep their licences for four years until 2023. Teams applying for the 2021 season will have a three-year licence, and teams applying in 2022 will have a two-year licence.
Teams ranked 1 to 5 will gain a four-year licence, while teams ranked 6 to 10 will have a three-year licence, and teams ranked 11 to 15 will have a two-year licence. Continental teams applying to be part of the Women’s WorldTeams will gain two-year terms.