COFACE Families Europe: Assessment of the EU work-life balance directive by COFACE Families Europe
Today [15 March] in Brussels, the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Council (EPSCO) will discuss different legislative files, including an update on the EU work-life balance directive.
COFACE Families Europe has been intensively promoting and advocating for specific EU measures on Work-Life Balance and has campaigned over the last decade to EU law-makers highlighting the challenges that families and carers face in reconciling their professional and private life. COFACE has supported the notion of work-life balance for all, based on measures that tackle the stereotypical vision of “traditional” and old-fashioned distribution of roles, where women are caregivers and men are the breadwinners. We have also advocated for an intergenerational approach to work-life balance policies, considering needs across the lifecycle not only of young families (working parents) but also adults with ageing parents or family members with disabilities (working carers). Measures addressing these needs are essential to achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, especially Goals 3 (Health and Well-being) and 5 (Gender Equality).
Annemie Drieskens, President of COFACE Families Europe: “In our overall assessment we highlight the advancement of rights for working parents and working carers, measured against the ambitions of COFACE Families Europe. We consider this Directive a milestone, an important step in the right direction and we are convinced it will benefit the well-being of all family members. Members of COFACE are now ready to monitor the national transposition processes closely and they will insist on upward national reforms to meet the needs of families.”
COFACE’s assessment highlights how the Directive paves the way for a strengthening European values of gender equality, social inclusion, diversity and non-discrimination; examines the new minimum standards on paid family leaves (paternity, parental, carers); considers the employment rights and right to request flexible arrangements which hold potential to change workplace culture; and finally underlines some derogation clauses which require further assessment. The document ends with guidelines for transposition to consolidate national policies and legislation. As soon as both co-legislators have approved the Directive (in the next month), COFACE will expect national governments to consolidate these social rights, involving relevant civil society organisations representing families of all types without discrimination, and move towards swift transposition.
Read the full assessment here.