About the campaign


The #IwantWorkLifeBalance campaign was launched in October 2017 to shore up citizen support for the EU Work Life Balance Directive as a first channel to implement the European Pillar of Social Rights and make a real contribution to achieving more gender equality in Europe. We invited everyone to join the #IwantWorkLifeBalance Social Media campaign. How? By tweeting, retweeting or sharing our messages (see below) and own messages and/or pictures using #IwantWorkLifeBalance hashtag.



Chronology of Actions

What have we done and when?

Latest News


Our penguins Uno and Due cannot quite believe it. This is it. It’s out. The EU work-life balance directive. In all languages. A piece of legislation containing minimum European standards on paternity, parental, carers leave and flexible work arrangements. Now for national civil society organisations to monitor the transposition of the directive over the next 3 years and push the minimum standards upwards.

Congratulations to all the people who mobilised and supported our campaign! The #iwantworklifebalance campaign is now officially over, but the battle for gender equality and worklife balance for all families is far from over, and you can count on COFACE Families Europe to keep pushing for non-legislative and legislative actions to implement the European Pillar of Social Rights.


About the EU Work-Life Balance Directive


On 26 April 2017, the European Commission released the European Pillar of Social Rights, in the form of a European Commission Recommendation listing key principles for driving the future EU social policy agenda. One of these principles (no.9) focuses on Work-Life Balance: “Parents and people with caring responsibilities have the right to suitable leave, flexible working arrangements and access to care services. Women and men shall have equal access to special leaves of absence in order to fulfil their caring responsibilities and be encouraged to use them in a balanced way.”

This principle 9 was supported by the publication of a first ever comprehensive package of legislative and non-legislative measures to promote the work-life balance of families, with a view to “modernise the existing European Union legal and policy framework to support better work-life balance for men and women with caring responsibilities and a more equal use of leave and flexible work arrangements”.

This included the first ever proposal for a comprehensive EU directive to improve work-life balance of parents and carers that preserving and building on existing rights in particular under the EU Parental Leave Directive.

After two years of discussion, the directive was finally approved in June 2019. The following rights have been adopted:

  • 10 working days of paternity leave for fathers, Remunerated at least at the level of sick-pay
  • 4 months per parent, out of which 2 months are non-transferable between parents and remunerated at adequate level by Member States
  • At least 5 working days with additional flexibility on how to allocate them.
  • Right to request by parent of children up to at least 8 years old and carers for the following Flexible working arrangements: reduced working hours, flexible working hours, tele-work

COFACE Families Europe has been pushing the EU for years now to recognise the social, economic and demographic needs of our societies to meet the pressing challenge of work-life balance, calling on the EU to recognise the current societal shift in parenting and working roles.

The shift of families towards more dual earners with dual, or multiple carer needs (for children, older family members, relatives with disability, or other support needs) is leading to new 21st century challenges for families such as reconciling family and work, parental burnout, and more) and the need for modernised 21st century family policies focusing on a reconciliation policy mix of Resources – Services – Time.

Families struggle to cope with their multiple responsibilities and thus helping them reconcile their work, family, care and private lives is fundamental. This is an essential driver for women to be able to enter and stay in the labour market but also to promote more gender equality at all levels, from inside the family to employment and the broader society. This will help in breaking the stereotypes of what is a “man’s or woman’s job” both in the family and in the labour market and it will improve the sharing of family, house and care responsibilities.


Background information about this campaign


Legislation has a direct impact on people’s lives and every detail must be thought through. This is why proposing and approving a new piece of legislation, a new law, is a long process. However, sometimes, processes can be extended for no valid reasons or excuses to avoid to take a decision. We did not want this to happen to the proposed Work Life Balance Directive.

When the Council  has started discussing the directive, we felt the need to be part of the discussion and not let the decisions be taken behind closed doors. This is why we started the #IwantWorkLifeBalance campaign and decided to pursue it until the directive was adopted.

Do you know why we use penguins?


The logo of the #IwantWorkLifeBalance is the Emperor penguin. We have chosen it because penguins are natural examples of sharing of responsibilities in parenting.

We use penguins on our campaign materials because they support the idea to promote the breaking down of stereotypical gender roles, and to ensure true gender equality in both spheres of family life, within the caring and the working roles. Do you want to know how? Click here


Get in touch

Policy – With a number of partners of the civil society we hold regular monthly meetings to update one another and strategise. If you want to be involved in the campaign or to receive our regular policy updates on this topic, contact Pascual Martinez at pmartinez@coface-eu.org

Communication – We invite everyone to join the social media campaign. For media inquiries or any request on the campaign please contact Isabell Wutz at iwutz@coface-eu.org

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