News on the Maternity Leave
| Feb. 2015
Women’s rights and gender equality committee of the European Parliament
hosted an exchange of views with the European Commission and the
Council of the European Union, on February 26th, on the way forward of
the new Maternity Leave Directive that is blocked in the Council since
The exchange of views, however, could not take place as no
representative of the Council of the EU attended the meeting, showing a
clear political message. The proposal for a Directive has followed the
procedure until it reached the point where the Council should have been
approving the text or proposing its own to the Parliament. This never
happened because some of the Member States pressured the Council for
delaying the procedure and blocking a new Directive on the subject.
While a discussion on the content and on the text could have helped
shaping a compromised text, Member States decided not to start this
The proposed Directive risks now to fall under the
"refit” procedure, meaning the Commission will drop the proposal and the
matter will still be regulated by the existing Directive dating 1992.
This will also establish a dangerous precedent: when the representatives
of Member States do not want to modify legislation in a certain field,
they can simply ignore it until it becomes too old, disregarding the
work and voice of the other EU Institutions, including the
representatives of the citizens themselves.
COFACE believes that
this is not the way to follow and urges the Council and the Latvian
Presidency to consider once again their choice and engage in discussion
with the European Parliament.
For more info on the position of COFACE on lea schemes, please refer to Chapter 2
of the newly published European Reconciliation Package
EU Family leave provisions:
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.
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.
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.
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 09 Mar 2015