Better work-life balance for parents and carers in the EU

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Finding the right work-life balance is still a considerable challenge for many workers, and the uneven distribution between partners of parental and care responsibilities has a negative impact on women’s employment, as they are often forced to choose between a career or family. Better access to the labour market for women, with a more balanced distribution of parental responsibilities are important objectives for ALDE.

Today the European Parliament, the Commission and the Council have concluded the trilogue negotiations to approve the Work Life Balance Directive, which aim is to allow for a better sharing of care tasks thereby increasing women’s participation in the labour market.

The Parliament managed to counter attempts by Member States to water down the proposal and succeeded to establish an EU-wide right to carer’s leave, and to paid paternity leave and parental leave. This is a first important concrete delivery on the EPSR. However, the conditions for the different leaves are very strict and it remains to be seen if these measures will sufficiently incentivise fathers to take the leaves.

ALDE MEP Renate Weber, shadow rapporteur on this file says the outcome is not ambitious enough:

“This proposal for a directive started off as a bold and necessary piece of European legislation by means of which the European Commission intended to take a broader approach in order to address women’s under-representation in the labour market. I am sorry that the final outcome will not be delivering on these expectations to make a real difference in the lives of millions of Europeans who deserve a better reconciliation of their working and family lives.”

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