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Update on the Work Life Balance dossier

The month of May has seen progress for the Work-Life Balance Directive:

– Council of Ministers: it is now a matter of days, the Member States may be getting closer to an agreement and Council may position itself at the EPSCO on 21 June. We call on all Member States to walk these last steps and make this file advance for the interest of all families in Europe. We also call on all our partners and friends to contact their Government representatives and the media in their countries, to launch the debate and get citizens involved. In the last weeks, we have seen the discussion picking up in France and becoming a dinner table topic, following two open letters sent to President Macron by 51 NGOs and the main French Trade Unions. We would like to thank all French NGOs and Trade Unions that made this possible, and MEPs Bullman and Arena that raised the question directly to President Macron in the European Parliament plenary session. A number of press article but also radio and TV interviews have been discussing the topic. Among the most recent, an article appeared on Le Monde and a video on TF1. If you want to raise the topic towards your representatives and media, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us but also raising this topic with your own elected representatives!

– European Parliament: The FEMM committee voted its opinion in Strasbourg and we welcome the results, in particular the high level of payment granted to parental and carers leave (80% of worker gross wage) and paternity leave (equivalent to maternity leave) and the non-transferability of 4 months of parental leave. The opinion was adopted by 19 votes in favour to 8 votes against, with 4 abstentions. We welcome as well the change in the wording and the alignment to the UN CRPD when it comes to persons with disabilities and their rights, and included an explicit mention to second parents when it comes to paternity leave. Families are diverse and the legislators must take these evolutions of society when producing new laws. On the other hand, we regret that MEPs did not delete the qualification period needed to apply for parental leave but only reduced its length to six months. In a moment of a very high instability in the labour market where the younger generations have access to very precarious contracts, the qualification period is a target put on the back of young families. The labour market has changed – and not necessarily in a positive way – and including a qualification period is a sign that MEPs have not considered these changes. We therefore call to the EMPL Committee to take into account the positive changed brought by the FEMM Committee and consider making this proposal even more suitable for current and future parents.

Read more about the #IwantWorkLifeBalance campaign