The European Commission issued a new policy initiative on the topic of work-life balance under the title ‘New start to address the challenges of work-life balance faced by working families’.
The so called Roadmap on work-life balance substitutes the Commission’s proposal for a new Maternity Leave Directive that was withdrawn from the negotiation process in July 2015 as its adoption was blocked in the EU Council since 2008.
The main objective of the Roadmap is to continue enforcing developments that will tackle the issues of working parents and the persisting high rates of women’s under-representation in employment in the EU.
The Roadmap initiative proposes a mix of legislative and non-legislative measures that aim to ‘modernise current EU legal and policy framework and adapt it to today’s labour market to allow for parents with children or workers with dependent relatives to better balance caring and professional responsibilities’. The Commission’s proposals include the following:
- Strengthening the rights to request flexible working arrangements to both parents and women and men with caring responsibilities
- Inviting Social Partners to assess agreements on Parental Leave, the Fixed-term work and Part-time work
- Better enforcement of and new initiatives for parental leave taken-up by fathers
- Improvements to the Maternity Leave Directive
- Introduction of Carers’ Leave
- Strengthening the implementation of the Directive 2006/54 (equal treatment of men and women in employment and occupation) and Directive 2010/41 (equal treatment of men and women in self-employment)
- Comprehensive policy framework (developing EU level benchmarks, regular monitoring and reporting, the targeted use of EU financial tools, structured dialogue with Member States and Social Partners, targeted awareness raising campaigns)
- Public consultation process on the issue
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