Time goes fast and here we are with our April update:
On 10 April COFACE was invited at the EIGE – European Institute for Gender Equality to participate in the expert meeting on Work-Life Balance indicators in view of the 2019 Gender Equality Index. During this meeting we discussed about possible indicators and data comparability, in order to identify which indicators could provide the best and more realistic picture of the current situation in the EU on Work-Life Balance. While this may look very technical and unrelated to concrete everyday needs, the choice of indicators and the use of data is crucial, because it is only with good indicators that it is possible to have a realistic vision of the situation and therefore be able to design policy and legislative proposals reflecting the reality on the ground.
On 12-13 April COFACE members gathered in Paris, hosted by UNAF, to discuss the current state of play and strategise for the next step of the work-life balance directive and non-legislative initiatives. The 2-day-meeting was introduced by a half-day session on the structure of family policy in France, from the leaves schemes to allowances and service provisions supporting parents and carers.
Concerning the Work-Life Balance Directive, the discussions continued in the Parliamentary committees and, on the Council side, despite not being on the agenda of the last EPSCO, the Directive was brought to the attention of French President Macron with an open letter signed by 51 NGOs and during his debate in the EP Plenary in Strasbourg.
JURI: the Juri opinion was voted by a strong majority Link
FEMM: the 473 amendments to the FEMM Opinion are available here AMs 30 to 334 and AMs 335 to 473 . From a first reading, COFACE welcomes that a number of MEPs took on board and tabled amendments along the line suggested by COFACE and some of its partners of the Work-Life Balance informal coalition. COFACE is particularly happy to see that a number of amendments have been tabled to raise the payment level of the leave schemes and that to align terminology related to disability with the UN CRPD. It is of a crucial importance to recall that without a proper income replacement during leave schemes and with the qualification periods as currently proposed, the right to paternity and parental leave will remain for many parents a right only on paper, a right they will not be able to enjoy. We also welcome the many amendments proposed to enlarge the definition of carer and of the conditions of the person in need of care and support. Families are more and more scattered across different countries and MEPs have listened to the voice of many families, recognizing the reality: support may be provided by people going beyond fist-degree relatives. Limiting carers’ leave to fist degree relatives, without mentioning disability, mental health, age as factors for the eligibility for the leave, would be ignoring reality. We are glad MEPs in the FEMM Committee listened to their constituencies.
EMPL: Amendments presented to the EMPL report are not available yet, as MEPs can table their amendments in their own language and some time is needed for translation. We will analyse and update about them next month.
France and the Work-Life Balance Directive:
On 16 April 51 NGOs sent an open letter (in French only) to the French President Macron, urging him to publicly support the Work-Life balance directive. The following day during his debate with MEPs in the European Parliament, the S&D President MEP Bullmann and MEP Arena (EMPL Shadow rapporteur) asked directly President Macron his intention on the directive. President Macron replied in his final remarks saying he agrees with the principles but adding that the current text is not sustainable (i.e. too expensive). He also announced that France will make a proposal to advance the discussions. We are looking forward to read this proposal and work with president Macron to ensure a text that will respond to all families’ needs.
And last but not least, April 25th we celebrated the World Penguin Day
Read more about the #IwantWorkLifeBalance campaign