On 21 February, the EMPL Committee held a public hearing on the Commission proposal on work-life balance for parents and carers, which fed into the preparation of the related legislative draft report by rapporteur David Casa (EPP, MT). The Commission proposal, presented in the overall framework of the European Pillar of Social Rights, aims to address women’s underrepresentation in the labour market through higher minimum standards for parental, paternity and carer’s leave.
Discussions at the hearing were mostly positive, all experts (with the exception of UEAPME) and MEPs expressed their support to the directive and recognized the importance of this text. Experts stressed the importance of non-transferable and well-paid leaves to improve men’s take-up rates and to avoid discrimination of lower income families. In particular, experts agreed that those two elements are fundamental to reduce the gender gap, including gender pay gap. Concerns were raised on how to ensure that these norms do not put excessive burden on SMEs and in particular on micro enterprises. One of the experts underlined, in this regard, that the proposal contains part of the answer to this question, through the provision that would allow parents to take parental leave flexibly, by reducing their working hours or by taking leave in short blocks, allowing parents to reduce their work but still be in employment and therefore also reducing the need to hire replacements for companies.
More information and the programme available here
Our photo album with pictures from the event here