Make Mothers Matter: Work-life balance – EU gives thumbs-up for families
The much-awaited EU Directive on Work-Life Balance for parents and family carers is expected to be adopted by EU institutions on March 15th. The proposal ‘s main aim is to enable parents and people with caring responsibilities to better balance their work and family lives. It will also encourage a stronger sharing of caring responsibilities between women and men.
After almost two years of negotiations, the Directive will be voted in the European Parliament and the Council of the EU. Since its publication by the European Commission in April 2017, Make Mothers Matter – European Delegation (MMM) has been actively following the legislative process and engaging with policymakers to voice the needs and concerns of mothers and families. Its actions included keeping the conversation alive on social media platforms using #iwantworklifebalance.
MMM is proud of this achievement and thankful to other European NGOs through The Alliance [of which Social Platform is a member] for the joint work produced. Everyone’s contribution has brought about this progress and improvement in the European legislative framework. The directive is particularly relevant to families in Member States currently benefiting from insufficient measures to promote a better balance between work and family life.
With the European Union elections on the horizon (23-26 May 2019) it is important to show families that the EU has taken into account their needs by adopting legislation to improve the current situation towards achieving a more Social Europe.
The Directive represents a minimum standard for all EU countries that must be considered as such. However, this directive represents an improvement in the situation for families in all countries, to a greater or lesser degree, depending on what their current situation is. Nothing prevents Member States from raising this standard. MMM is advising civil society at the national level and in particular, its member associations in all countries, to ask for more at the implementation of this directive into national legislation which will happen in the next 3 years after the formal adoption.
This is to be welcomed as it is a real step forward in the improvement of the work-life balance policies which benefit mothers and families, as well as better recognition and remuneration of the care provided by families. The agreement includes the following measures:
- 10 days paternity leave granted to the father following the birth of a child paid at least at sick pay level (according to national legislation)
- 4 months parental leave, including 2 non-transferable months between parents, with a salary determined by Member States for these two months
- Carer’s leave, equal to 5 days per worker per year, whose payment will be decided by national governments
- The right to request flexible working conditions for all parents of children until 8 years and carers (teleworking, reduction of working time and flexible working hours).
MMM regrets, however, that this agreement does not take into account:
- Maternity leave provisions, which are outdated, and MMM hopes the next European Commission will propose a revision of the EU Directive
- The right to request flexible working conditions for all parents of children until 18 years old
- The situation of the self-employed
MMM hopes that this will be included in the working programme of the next European Commission.