About the campaign
Families struggle to cope with their multiple responsibilities and thus helping them reconcile their work, family, care and private lives is fundamental. The #IwantWorkLifeBalance campaign was launched to shore up citizen support for the EU Work Life Balance Directive as a first channel to implement the European Pillar of Social Rights and make a real contribution to achieving more gender equality in Europe.
Some of the measures included in the EU Directive on Work Life Balance are: the introduction of paid paternity leave of ten days, the recognition of paid carers’ leave, non-transferable paid parental leave (at sick leave level), and the right to request flexible working conditions. These will bring real changes to the lives of many Europeans.
The proposed Directive is an essential driver for women to be able to enter and stay in the labour market but also to promote more gender equality at all levels, from inside the family to employment and the broader society. This will help break the stereotypes of what is a “man’s or woman’s job” both in the family and in the labour market and it will improve the sharing of family, house and care responsibilities. Penguins are an integral part of the campaign since they are natural examples of sharing of responsibilities in parenting!
The #IwantWorkLifeBalance campaign started in October 2017 and it will end with the adoption of the Directive… We invite everyone to join the #IwantWorkLifeBalance Social Media campaign. How? Feel free to tweet, retweet or share our messages (see below) and your own messages and/or pictures using #IwantWorkLifeBalance hashtag.
Click here to see our photo album with campaign supporters.
About the EU Work-Life Balance Package
On 26 April 2017, the European Commission released the European Pillar of Social Rights, in the form of a European Commission Recommendation listing key principles for driving the future EU social policy agenda. One of these principles (no.9) focuses on Work-Life Balance: “Parents and people with caring responsibilities have the right to suitable leave, flexible working arrangements and access to care services. Women and men shall have equal access to special leaves of absence in order to fulfil their caring responsibilities and be encouraged to use them in a balanced way.”
This principle 9 is supported by the publication of a first ever comprehensive package of legislative and non-legislative measures to promote the work-life balance of families, with a view to “modernise the existing European Union legal and policy framework to support better work-life balance for men and women with caring responsibilities and a more equal use of leave and flexible work arrangements”.
This includes the first ever proposal for a comprehensive EU directive to improve work-life balance of parents and carers that preserves and builds on existing rights in particular under the Parental Leave Directive. The following new rights are proposed:
- Possibility for flexible uptake (piecemeal and part-time) of the 4 months entitlement to parental leave paid at sick pay level. The 4 months entitlement can be taken up until the child reaches the age of 12 and cannot be transferred between parents.
- An entitlement to 10 working days of paternity leave when a child is born, paid at sick pay level.
- An entitlement to 5 days of leave paid at sick pay level per year per worker to take care of seriously ill or dependent relatives.
- A right to request flexible working arrangements for parents of children up to 12 years old and workers with caring responsibilities.
COFACE Families Europe has been pushing the EU for years now to recognise the social, economic and demographic needs of our societies to meet the pressing challenge of work-life balance, calling on the EU to recognise the current societal shift in parenting and working roles.
The shift of families towards more dual earners with dual, or multiple carer needs (for children, older family members, relatives with disability, or other support needs) is leading to new 21st century challenges for families such as reconciling family and work, parental burnout, and more) and the need for modernised 21st century family policies focusing on a reconciliation policy mix of Resources – Services – Time.
It is clear from the package of measures proposed by the European Commission, that Europe is making a first attempt finally to respond concretely to the needs of families.
European Commission documents:
Delivering on the European Pillar of Social Rights – Commission adopts first concrete initiatives (press release)
Communication: An Initiative to Support Work Life Balance for Workig Parents and Carers
Communication on Work-Life Balance – Factsheet
Communication on Work-Life Balance – Social Scoreboard
Communication on Social Rights Pillar – Factsheet
European Pillar of Social Rights – Building a more inclusive and fairer European Union
Background information about this campaign
Legislation has a direct impact on people’s lives and every detail must be thought through. This is why proposing and approving a new piece of legislation, a new law, is a long process. However, sometimes, processes can be extended for no valid reasons or excuses to avoid to take a decision. We do not want this to happen to the proposed Work Life Balance Directive.
Since 2012 we have closely worked with the EU institutions, social partners and civil society to bring the discussion on work life balance to the top of the EU Agenda. Families struggle to cope with their multiple responsibilities and thus helping them reconcile their work, family, care and private lives is fundamental. This is an essential driver for women to be able to enter and stay in the labour market but also to promote more gender equality at all levels, from inside the family to employment and the broader society. This will help in breaking the stereotypes of what is a “man’s or woman’s job” both in the family and in the labour market and it will improve the sharing of family, house and care responsibilities.
To achieve this, we campaigned (2012-2014), we produced policy recommendations (European Reconciliation Package (2015)) and a position paper (Families on the edge (2017)). We brought the voices of EU citizens (2016) straight to the institutions and in the end we succeeded: the European Commission proposed a EU Work Life Balance Package (2017) on 26 April 2017. We assessed the EU Work Life Balance Package (2017) and the text met our expectations: it would significantly improve the lives of families across the EU. This is why we want this text to be swiftly adopted by the European Parliament and Council of the EU (i.e. the 27 national governments).
Currently, the Council has started discussing the text but there is no public document to assess their position and the European Parliament has not yet included the Directive into its calendar. We cannot lose time – we want the discussion between Commission, Parliament and Council to start now so that the text can be approved by the end of 2018 and avoid being postponed the elections period, where things get lost and forgotten.
This is why we started the #IwantWorkLifeBalance campaign. It will run from today until the Directive is approved. Join us, because before it is law, it is nothing!
If you want to support this campaign, we invite you to share these messages on Social Media:
- Childbirth is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Allow fathers to be part of it. Pass 10 days paid EU Paternity leave around the childbirth #IwantWorkLifeBalance
- Mothers need their partners after delivery. Make paternity leave a right for all in the EU #IwantWorkLifeBalance
- Fathers want to be more present for their kids. Allow them to do so. Approve the #wlbDirective #IwantWorkLifeBalance
- Many parents do not take parental leave because the family cannot afford unpaid leaves. Pass the #wlbDirective #IwantWorkLifeBalance
- Pass the #wlbDirective with paid and non-transferable leaves for all mothers and fathers #IwantWorkLifeBalance
- Unpaid or poorly paid parental leave is for the wealthy only, adequately paid parental leave is for all. Stop discrimination. Approve the #wlbDirective #IwantWorkLifeBalance
- 80% of care is provided by family and informal carers, because of the lack of a specific leave and community-based services. This is not sustainable. Start acting now, say yes to EU carers leave #IwantWorkLifeBalance
- Women 50+ are leaving employment to care for their ageing parents and end up earning up to 40% less in pension than men. Prevent this. Approve the #WLBdirective #IwantWorkLifeBalance
- Parents alone cannot cope with work, family, care. #IwantWorkLifeBalance to reduce parental burn-out and stress
- Ageing population and shrinking workforce? Help women to enter and stay in employment, say yes to flexible working arrangements and #wlbDirective #IwantWorkLifeBalance
- Allowing parents and carers to better reconcile work and family life will reduce health related expenditure for EU countries #IwantWorkLifeBalance
- Paying leaves and providing flexible working for parents and carers is an investment, it will help women to enter and stay at work #IwantWorkLifeBalance
Do you know why we use penguins on this campaign?
The logo of the #IwantWorkLifeBalance is the Emperor penguin. We have chosen it because penguins are natural examples of sharing of responsibilities in parenting.
We use penguins on our campaign materials because they support the idea to promote the breaking down of stereotypical gender roles, and to ensure true gender equality in both spheres of family life, within the caring and the working roles. Do you want to know how? Click here
ACTION 1-8 March 2018: “The March of the Penguins” for gender equality
COFACE Families Europe is launching a communication action around the International Women’s Day from March 1st to the 8th. This action, called “The March of the Penguins” aims at highlighting the difficulties faced by women today in relation to their work-life balance. Every day, from March the 1st to the 8th, we will release one message and, on the International Women’s Day on the 8th of March, we will issue a media release. Follow the March of the Penguins from the 1st of March here!
Get in touch with us!
Policy – With a number of partners of the civil society we hold regular monthly meetings to update one another and strategise. If you want to be involved in the campaign or to receive our regular policy updates on this topic, contact Paola Panzeri at email@example.com
Communication – We invite everyone to join the social media campaign. For media inquiries or any request on the campaign please contact Ana Pérez at firstname.lastname@example.org