Opinion Factsheet  

Work-life balance for parents and carers

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Opinion Number: CDR 3138/2017
Commission: SEDEC
Status: Adopted
Date: 30/11/2017
 
common minimum standards at EU-level for work-life balance policies, but these standards must not be the lowest common denominator;
need for a multi-level governance approach for the optimal implementation of the directive, given local and regional authorities' competences in matters that affect daily family life, such as childcare, care for the elderly and people with disabilities, education, social services and employment;
local and regional authorities, due to their proximity to citizens, local employers and businesses, should be fully involved in the implementation of the proposed new arrangements;
strengthening maternity rights;
changes to family structures to be more fully taken into account in the Commission's definition of paternity, by suggesting the possibility of recognising the right to paternity leave not only for fathers but for "persons legally recognised as such";
further efforts to be made to implement the Barcelona objectives on early childcare services.
THE EUROPEAN COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS



- would argue that the responsibility for a suitable work-life balance is to be shared between workers, families, the social partners, local and regional authorities and all public and private employers and service providers;

- acknowledges the role played by local and regional authorities in this area, given their competences in matters that affect daily family life, such as childcare, care for the elderly and people with disabilities, education, social services and employment. Multi-level governance is therefore important for the optimal implementation of the directive;

- believes that work-life balance policies, including family leave, may contribute both to increasing employment rates of women and to higher fertility rates, leading to greater economic benefits for all. At the same time, it is important to ensure that family leave does not turn into a trap for women that further restricts their options on the labour market;

- regrets that the scope of the directive is limited to workers with a contract of employment or an employment relationship and that it does not cover the various forms of atypical work, such as the self-employed;

- regrets the lack of mention of the Barcelona objectives, which have not been met by all Member States, and efforts therefore need to be further stepped up to implement them;

- points out that the European Semester is a powerful tool in the area of fiscal policy and that it could be very helpful in giving Member States guidance and recommendations concerning economic disincentives for second earners, and guidance on care services;

- agrees with the proposal to grant paternity leave without prejudice to marital or family status, as defined in national law, to avoid any discrimination. It is a matter for the Member States to define the conditions of access and detailed arrangements for the application of parental leave where there are more than two applicants for such parental leave;

- welcomes the proposal to produce more and better data and stresses the need to collect data at local and regional level, in order to be able to shape policies in a targeted and resource-efficient way.

Importance

High
Medium
Low
 

Adoption of the opinion

The CoR Plenary adopted the final opinion

 
30 Nov
 

Rapporteur Participated in the 2017 Annual Colloquium on Fundamental Rights

The Rapporteur presented her opinion at the session "Women's economic empowerment: is it possible to close the gender pay gap?"

 
21 Nov
 

Territorial Impact Assessment

The CoR held a Territorial Impact Assessment (TIA) of the legislative proposal

 
11 Oct
 

Adoption of the draft opinion by the SEDEC commission

The SEDEC commission will discuss and adopt the draft opinion

 
28 Sep
 

Stakeholders consultation

The rapporteur meets stakeholders in Brussels for an exchange of views on the topic.

 
13 Jul
 

Appointment of Rapporteur

Nathalie Sarrabezolles (FR/PES) is appointed Rapporteur for the CoR opinion

 
08 Jun
 

Publication of European Commission's Documents

The European Commission presents a set of legislative and non-legislative actions to modernise the existing European Union legal and policy framework to support better work-life balance for men and women with caring responsibilities and a more equal use of leave and flexible work arrangements.

 
26 Apr