Further to the repeal of the Maternity Leave Directive, the European Commission took a position to create further initiatives for progress in the sphere of the European Pillar of Social Rights, with specific focus on the Work-life Balance Initiative, which addresses the work-life balance challenges faced by working parents and carers. The proposal for a Directive on work-life balance for parents and carers includes:
Salient Features of the Proposed Directive:
- Introduction of paternity leave. Fathers/equivalent second parents will be able to take at least 10 working days of paternity leave around the time of birth of the child, compensated at least at the level of sick pay.
- Strengthening of the existing right to 4 months of parental leave, by making 2 out of the 4 months non-transferable from a parent to another and compensated at a level to be set by Member States. Parents will also have the right to request to take the leave in a flexible way (e.g. part-time or in a piecemeal way).
- Introduction of carers’ leave for workers providing personal care or support to a relative or person living in the same household. Working carers will be able to take 5 days per year.
- Extension of the existing right to request flexible working arrangements (reduced working hours, flexible working hours and flexibility in place of work) to all working parents of children up to at least 8 years old, and all carers.
Who will benefit?
A. Parents and carers will profit from a better work-life balance. Moreover, the foreseen increase in women’s employment, their higher earnings and career progression will positively impact their and their families’ economic prosperity, social inclusion and health.
B. Companies will benefit from a wider talent pool and a more motivated and productive labour force, as well as from less absenteeism. The rise in women’s employment will also contribute to addressing the challenge of demographic ageing and ensuring Member States’ financial stability.