European Union members to make carer work-life balance measures law

European UnionAll members of the European Union (EU) must apply rules to improve work-life balance for parents and carers by transposing a Work-Life Balance Directive into national law as of this week.

The rules set out minimum standards for paternity, parental and carers’ leave, and have established rights such as working fathers being entitled to at least 10 working days of paternity leave around the time of birth of the child, compensated at least at the level of sick pay, and each parent being entitled to at least four months of parental leave, of which two months is paid and non-transferable. Parents can request to take their leave full-time, part-time, or in segments.

Other provisions introduced include that all workers providing personal care or support to someone in the same household have the right to at least five working days of carers’ leave per year, and all working parents with children up to at least eight years old, and all carers, have the right to request reduced and flexible working hours, and flexibility in the workplace.

According to the EU, the directive aimed to both increase the participation of women in the labour market, and the take-up of family-related leave and flexible working arrangements.

After each state has transposed the rights into their national law, the EU Commission will assess the completeness and compliance of the national measures by each country and take action where necessary.

Věra Jourová, vice-president for values and transparency in the EU, said: “Over the past two years many Europeans have taken steps to focus on what truly matters to them. With more flexibility and new rights, the Work-Life Balance Directive provides them with a safety net to do so without worrying. Across the EU, parents and carers now have more guaranteed leave with fair compensation. It means we can care for the people we love without sacrificing the love of our work.”