EU Family leave provisions:Maternity leave
is a break from employment taken by mothers just before and after child birth to protect maternal and infant health and safety. Maternity is regulated at the EU level. As maternity leave is a work related health and safety measure, the EU Pregnant Workers Directive (Directive 92/85/EEC) has set minimum provisions for maternity leave of 14 weeks at the level of sick pay. Current provisions in the Member States range from between 14 weeks and 52 weeks leave with compensation levels varying between the equivalent of sick pay to full pay.Parental leave
which is regulated at the EU level is offered to parents to be taken later in the child’s life – i.e. after maternity leave or later on (generally up to the age of 8). The revised EU Parental Leave Directive will give parents an individual right to 4 months of parental leave each, of which at least 1 month needs to be strictly non-transferable between parents (Directive 2010/18/EU). The revised Directive will have to be transposed by Member States before March 2012. It should be emphasized that both the initial Parental Leave Directive (Directive 96/34/EC) and its revised Framework Agreement (2010/18/EU) included provisions on urgent family leave (“force majeure”) as well as potential accommodating options for parents of sick and disabled children. Carers’ leave does not cover any of these provisions existing at the national level as a result of the implementation of the Parental Leave Directive and its Revised Framework Agreement.Paternity leave
is not currently regulated at the EU level. This is typically a rather short form of leave for fathers, to be taken immediately after a child is born, so that the father can spend time with and take care of the mother and child.Carers’ leave
is not currently regulated at the EU level. The conditions and provisions for carers’ leave vary considerably between Member States in terms of definition, length and compensation as well as eligibility criteria, age and medical condition of the relative being cared for.
Published on 30 Sep 2011
Updated on 16 Jun 2014