EU work-life balance directive moves forward
The European Parliament and the European Council reached a provisional agreement on the European Commission’s proposal for a work-life balance Directive, on the 24th of January. The provisional agreement has to be ratified by member states.
The aim of the work-life balance Directive is to improve the work-life balance of working parents, and encourage more flexible working arrangements, in families. The new directive will enable men and women to take a more equal share in family-related responsibilities. The new rules should also increase the take-up of family-related leave and flexible working arrangements by men, thus making it easier for women to stay on the labour market
The new rules should also increase the take-up of family-related leave and flexible working arrangements by men.
The main elements of the proposals are that: fathers or second parents will be able to take at least 10 working days of paternity leave around the time of birth of a child paid at a level equal to that currently set at EU level for maternity leave’. Individuals will have the right to four months of parental leave, of which 2 months are non-transferable between the parents and are paid. The level of payment being set by member states>
The proposals also introduce, at an EU level, the concept of carers’ leave, for workers caring for relatives in need of care or support due to serious medical reasons. Carers will be able to take 5 working days per year. And the right to request flexible working arrangements to working carers will be extended to all parents.
Bolstering parental and paternity leave is a good way to go, in terms of evening out the unbalanced gender divisions around child care
Eurocadres which has campaigned for improving ways to manage work-life balance largely welcomes these proposals. According to Eurocadres President Martin Jefflén, ‘bolstering parental and paternity leave is a good way to go, in terms of evening out the unbalanced gender divisions around child care and home responsibilities’.
In welcoming the agreement Commissioners stated: ‘This is good news for families in Europe. The European Pillar of Social Rights is about improving the daily lives of Europeans. The provisional agreement makes this vision very concrete, giving families with working parents and carers a real choice on how to combine their work and family life. This is a huge step towards a more social Europe and shows the true spirit of the Pillar. New work-life balance rules that are fit for purpose in the 21st century will open opportunities for working women and men to share caring responsibilities, for children and relatives, on an equal basis’.
This directive will encourage the participation of women in the labour market.
According to Marius-Constantin Budai, Romania’s Minister of Labour and Social Justice, the ‘agreement is very welcome. It gives a huge boost to promoting equality of women and men across the EU. This directive will encourage the participation of women in the labour market and the equal sharing of care responsibilities between women and men. It will also contribute to closing the gender gap in earnings and pay’.