After its publication on 26 April 2017 by the European Commission, the work-life balance package has been entering the debate in the EU Institutions and it will become more and more present in the upcoming months.
The Council of the European Union working on Employment and Social Affairs (EPSCO) has met in an informal meeting in Tallinn (Estonia) on 19-20 July and Member States representatives have discussed the challenges faced by families across the EU and their needs for a better reconciliation of their family, work, private and care duties. At the end of this meeting, the Trio of Presidencies (Estonia, Bulgaria and Austria) signed a Declaration on Gender Equality committing to work on the Work-Life Balance Directive.
The other Institution that will negotiate the Directive with the Council is the European Parliament and the text will be discussed in Parliament Committees already this autumn. The Parliament has been working on this topics for a long time and one year ago, in September 2016, voted a very important Resolution (2017/2016(INI)) that contains all key elements that would allow families to reconcile their work, family, care and private life. In June 2017, the EP Committees on Employment (EMPL) and Gender Equality (FEMM) held a hearing where COFACE Families Europe was invited to present its view on the Directive and its assessment.
On 4 September, the two Committees are holding a workshop in the European Parliament on “Increasing female participation in the labour market” where a report on “Demography and family policies from a gender perspective” will be presented.
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and the Committee of the Regions (CoR) will also produce opinions during the autumn and the works have already started, with consultations of stakeholders and study groups to prepare the opinions. COFACE has been Invited to participate in the consultation for the CoR and called as expert for the preparation of the opinion in the EESC. The text of the opinion is work in progress and the study group made of experts and EESC Members will reconvene in the second half of September.
Check out a selection of interesting resources:
Demography and family policies from a gender perspective, by European Parliament
Work–life balance and flexible working arrangements in the European Union, by Eurofound
Trio Presidency Declaration on Equality between Women and Men
Video from the Estonian Presidency on work-life balance