CoR rapporteur Nathalie Sarrabezolles expresses concerns over the weakening of the work-life balance directive  

​Ahead of today's Employment and Social Affairs Council meeting, Nathalie Sarrabezolles, Rapporteur of the European Committee of the Regions on the Work-Life Balance Directive and President of the Finistère Departmental Council (France/PSE), underlines the need for the swift adoption of a strong Directive, which will be a decisive step in the meaningful implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights and will impact positively upon the lives of millions of working parents.

Ms Sarrabezolles expresses concerns over an eventual weakening of the Directive if Member States were to: abolish the child's age limit linked to the parental leave entitlement (12 months in the European Commission proposal); turn the minimum ceilings of paternity and parental leaves into maximum ceilings while scrapping the ceiling for a carer's leave; reject the equation of the remuneration for parental leave to that of sick leave; reduce the non-transferable length of parental leave from four to two months; limit the definition of carer to a relative or a person living in the same household with the person in need of significant care or support.

"We need common minimum standards at EU-level for work-life balance policies, but these standards must not be the lowest common denominator", points out the rapporteur, who also stresses the need for a multi-level governance approach for the optimal implementation of the directive. "I hope that today's decision by the Social Affairs Ministers will acknowledge the role played by local and regional authorities, 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", she adds.