Earlier this year the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) has published a study which provides eligibility rates for each of the Member States and an overview of the main eligibility criteria that they have set. An intersectional perspective helps…
Work-Life Balance (WLB) is at the very core of COFACE’s work
COFACE Families Europe has been intensively promoting and advocating for specific EU measures on Work-Life Balance for years and has campaigned over the last decade to EU Institutions underlying the challenges that families and carers face in reconciling their professional and private life. We have been supporting the notion of WLB for all, based on measures that tackle the stereotypical vision of “traditional” and old-fashioned distributions of roles, where women are caregivers and men are the breadwinners.
Our vision is to allow families to choose how to reconcile work and family life, allowing more men to care and more women to work, decreasing the gender care gap, and secure economic independence therefore.
The agreement on the EU Work-Life Balance Directive on 24th January 2019, its adoption by the European Parliament and the Council in April and June respectively, and the publication in the Official Journal of the EU on 12th July, has been a road full of hurdles. The Directive covers aspects of Time (family leaves and flexible working arrangements) and some of the Resources (through the adequate payment for certain leaves), and also paves the way for future action on access to Services.
While the agreement consists of lower standards than the initial European Commission proposal, the Work-Life Balance Directive, as the first legislative proposal to follow the proclamation of the European Pillar of Social Rights in November 2017, is a good step in the right direction. This is an important step for gender equality in Europe.
COFACE Families Europe launched last 15th March a thorough Assessment of the Directive. The Assessment underlines 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.
COFACE also launched the #iwantworklifebalance campaign in 2017 to ensure that both Parliament and Council would not block the European legislative process (as was the case with a European maternity leave legislation revision which was blocked in Council for 8 years).
Our campaign aimed to mobilise social networks, civil society, high-level politicians, the penguins (penguins share parenting), and many more, to avoid a “Maternity Leave II” situation.
Last but not least, COFACE created and leaded a coalition of some 15 European civil society networks and organisations, the WLB Alliance, to advocate for the adoption of the WLB Directive and to monitor the whole process through several Open Letters and Joint Statements.
The #iwantworklifebalance campaign is now officially over, but the battle for gender equality and worklife balance for all families is far from over, and you can count on COFACE Families Europe to keep pushing for non-legislative and legislative actions to implement the European Pillar of Social Rights. The EU work-life balance directive is now available in all EU languages.
It is now up to national civil society organisations to monitor the transposition of the directive over the next 3 years and push the minimum standards upwards. Congratulations to all the people who mobilised and supported our campaign!
Assessments and Papers
Assessment of the EU Work-Life Balance Directive (15 March 2019)
Paper on Work-Life Balance Part 2: An ambitious new EU deal for childcare (17 December 2018)
Assessment of the Council position on the Work-Life Balance Directive (22 June 2018)
Assessment of the European Commission Work-Life Balance package (14 June 2017)
Paper on Families on the Edge: The EU urgently needs to address the Work-Life Balance needs of women and men (8 March 2017)
Joint Statements & Media releases
Joint Letter to the EPSCO Council: Let’s move towards swift transposition of the EU Work-Life Balance Directive! – WLB Alliance: (12 June 2019)
Open Letter to the EPSCO Council: Congratulations, nearly there! – WLB Alliance: (11 March 2019)
Press Release of the Provisional agreement reached by EU co-legislators on Work-Life Balance measures (24 January 2019)
Open Letter to the EPSCO Council: Stop blocking progress of negotiations on the EU Work-Life Balance directive!: (4 December 2018)
Open Letter to EU Institutions: Listen up: Here is what voters want from the EU Work-life balance directive- WLB Alliance: (5 November 2018)
Open Letter for the EPSCO Council to adopt a position on the EU Work-Life Balance directive – WLB Alliance: (18 June 2018)
Open Letter: M. le Président Macron, passez à l’acte !- in French (15 April 2018)
Media release: The new EU Work Life Balance Directive presents solutions to empower women and contribute to gender equality (8 March 2018)
Press Release: Launch of the #IwantWorkLifeBalance Social Media campaign (23 October 2017)
Press Release: Coalition of EU NGOs endorses European Commission’s comprehensive Work-Life Balance Package (26 April 2017)
Press Release: Vote YES to strengthen Work-Life Balance opportunities for Europe’s families – WLB Alliance (6 September 2016)
Surveys and polls
Eurobarometer survey on WLB
EIGE’s Gender Equality Index (2019): The Gender Equality Index (GEI) is a tool to measure the progress of gender equality in the EU, developed by the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE). Work-Life Balance was chosen as 2019 thematic focus of the GEI.
European Commission’s report on Gender Equality (2019)
The Family focal point of the UN Department for Economic and Social Affairs held an Expert Group Meeting on “Families in Development: Focus on Modalities for IYF+30, Parenting Education and the Impact of COVID-19” on 16-18th June. COFACE Families Europe…
**Please note: This is an internal COFACE expert meeting** (meeting documents are for internal use, not for dissemination) 2020 COFACE Disability platform for the rights of persons with disabilities and their families 24th June 2020 ________ List of Participants Link to…
Brussels, 16th June 2020, MEDIA RELEASE #ToysAndDiversity #ToyStories DOWNLOAD FULL REPORT In 2019, COFACE Families Europe decided to collect the stories of families and beyond in Europe, to explore what determines and influences their choices when they buy toys. On…
COFACE Families Europe invites you to the presentation of the "Toy Stories" survey results. With more than 2000 responses from Europe and beyond, the collected results give a glimpse into European consumers' thoughts and behaviours when it comes to toys…
Brussels, 19 May 2020 To the Attention of: President of the European Council Charles Michel President of the European Parliament David Maria Sassoli President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen Copy: Commissioner for Equality Helena Dalli Commissioner for…
Resources on Work-Life Balance and Gender Equality during COVID-19 Some information about national developments: Austria: On 15th April the Austrian minister for families announced €30 Million Corona Family Hardship Fund to support families through the COVID-19 crisis. More here. Belgium:…
Brussels, 15th April 2020, MEDIA RELEASE #COVID19 #AndraTuttoBene #StayHome DOWNLOAD POSITION PAPER Lockdowns, school closure and teleworking have pushed society into a new reality in the family, working and social spheres of life, with clear consequences on work-life balance and…
The age difference between the members of a family can lead to conflicts of various kinds. Family mediation is a recommended tool by UNAF Spain (COFACE member) to manage and solve intergenerational issues. . Especially adolescence is one of the…
The closing of schools and day-care centres, of retail outlets, restaurants and cafés, the scaling down of public services, contact bans, entry and exit restrictions affect everyone. Globalised families are particularly affected by all these restrictions. Firstly, educational opportunities deteriorate…
Here in Belgium, we are starting our fourth week of school closures and our third week of kindergarten closures. So far, parents have managed as best they can to combine work and childcare. But this situation cannot go on forever.…
I am an educational psychologist working in the social sector for more than 28 years, offering services to families and vulnerable groups. It is the first time in my life that I am really struggling to find answers in order…