The EPSCO Council (Social Affairs Ministers) met on 7th December in Brussels, and discussed progress on negotiations between EU28 countries on the proposal for an EU work-life balance directive. As a reminder: the general objective of the proposal is to improve access to work-life balance arrangements such as leaves and flexible working arrangements, as well as to increase the take-up of family-related leaves by men, thus contributing to increasing female labour-market participation. In particular, the proposal aims to update the minimum standards on (i) parental leave and (ii) flexible working arrangements, and introduce new minimum standards on (iii) paternity leave and (iv) carers’ leave.
During the Estonian Presidency, the Council working party on social questions discussed the proposal in several meetings, focusing on some specific articles: paternity leave, carers’ leave and parental leave, together with the article on adequate allowance. They published a progress report on their discussions – see here. As of 1st January 2018, the Bulgarian Presidency of the EU will take over the chairing of the discussions on the Work-Life balance directive, and COFACE Families Europe will continue to monitor the process closely.