NewsSeptember – WLB

WLB update: Moving in the right direction

This December update is a short pre-xmas one for those of you following the implementation of the EU worklife balance package proposed by the European Commission in April 2017.

Trilogues on the EU worklife balance directive

Two trilogues planned for 3 and 10th December were cancelled due to a blockage in negotiations. COFACE Families Europe called on Council to stop blocking the process, and the European Trade Union Confederation launched an open petition which gathered more than 50.000 signatures in a matter of days.  A trilogue on the EU worklife balance directive then subsequently took place on Friday 14th December in Brussels. Compromises have been reached on different parts of the directive, but a few outstanding issues remain so that the final agreement will be handled by the Romanian Presidency of the EU in January with a final trilogue. We, and members of the European alliance of NGOs on worklife balance, expect positive news in January, with concrete results for the next EPSCO Council which will take place on 15th March 2019, moving towards transposition of the directive.  In terms of the content of the deal, it is clear that the co-legislators are moving towards paid paternity leave, paid non-transferable period of parental leave, and five days of carers leave per year and per worker. But it is unclear whether the pay thresholds will all be determined at EU level or if this will be left to the Member States. In any case, the European Parliament would like to see further improvements as regards adequate compensation of the leaves, and in cases where there are no European thresholds, there should at least be clear guidance and references to allow for decent living standards and take-up of the leaves. The European Parliament is also asking for clear references to “equivalent second parent” in the definitions of the directive, taking into account the family diversity of the 21st century.

Care services: Worklife balance Part 2

Families need adequately paid leaves but they also rely on care services every day. These services are crucial for their chances to reconcile the different aspects of their lives such as family, work, care, leisure, education, as stated clearly in the European Commission package on work-life balance, which also included proposals for boosting investment in reconciliation Services such as long-term care and early childhood education and care. While we continue to support EU and national discussions in the fields of disability and long-term care through various initiatives to build 21st century community-based services for families, we call on the European Union to show leadership by boosting the supply of accessible, affordable and quality childcare. See our recent position on an EU deal for childcare, as well as key recommendations on the ways to achieve this.