In May 2017, the European Commission presented its 2017 country-specific recommendations (CSRs), setting out its economic policy guidance for individual Member States for the next 12 to 18 months. This guidance also covers employment and social policy measures which are relevant to foster better work-life balance of families. COFACE Families Europe advocates for holistic reconciliation policies based on a mix of access to resources (income support, fair tax systems, decent labour wages, and VAT measures for family-related products), services (childcare, long-term care), and time (family-related leaves, flexible work arrangements) (see March 2017 Position Paper: “Families on the Edge” for more).
Here below is a first overview of some of the 2017 country-specific recommendations which are relevant for driving the reconciliation policy agenda at national level.
–Slovakia: “Enhance employment opportunities for women, especially by extending affordable, quality childcare.”
–Slovenia: “Adopt and implement the proposed reform of the healthcare system and adopt the planned reform of long-term care, increasing cost-effectiveness, accessibility and quality care.”
–Poland: “Take steps to increase labour market participation, in particular for women, low- qualified and older people, including by fostering adequate skills and removing obstacles to more permanent types of employment.”
–Italy: “Facilitate the take-up of work for second earners”.
–Croatia: “Improve coordination and transparency of social benefits”.
–Spain: “Address regional disparities and fragmentation in income guarantee schemes and improve family support, including access to quality childcare”.
–Ireland: “Enhance social infrastructure, including social housing and quality childcare”.
–Germany: “Reduce disincentives to work for second earners and facilitate transitions to standard employment. Reduce the high tax wedge for low-wage earners. Create conditions to promote higher real wage growth, respecting the role of the social partners”.
–Estonia: “Ensure better adequacy of the social safety net. Take measures to reduce the gender pay gap, in particular by improving wage transparency and reviewing the parental leave system.”
Next steps: The Commission calls on the Council to endorse the proposed approach and adopt the country-specific recommendations, and on Member States to implement them fully and in a timely manner. It is then up to Member States to implement the Recommendations by addressing them through their national economic and budgetary policies in 2017-2018.
COFACE Families Europe will continue to monitor the European Semester and the country actions in response to the recommendations, to ensure these contribute to implementing the relevant principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights.
More information about the Country-Specific Recommendations here.