Securing a better work-life balance for working parents has moved a step forward.
MEPs voted in favour today of the agreement reached by the Council and the Parliament on the Work-Life Balance Directive.
Ireland South MEP Deirdre Clune said:
“This is a great step towards a better work-life balance for all working parents and towards improving the lives of families across all EU Member States, including Ireland. The aim of this proposal is to improve access to work-life balance arrangements, such as leave and flexible working arrangements for parents and carers. It should boost the take-up of family-related leave by men, which will help increase female labour market participation.”
If approved there will be new minimum standards on paternity leave, with fathers or second parents being able to take at least 10 working days of leave around the time of the birth of the child, paid at a level defined by the member state concerned. It would also update the minimum standard on parental leave, keeping the existing individual right of four months but with two non-transferable months, with at least 1.5 months to be paid at a level set by the member state concerned. The directive would introduce an individual right to carers’ leave, previously not recognised at EU level.
It would also extend the right to request flexible working arrangements for parents until the child is at least eight years old, as well as for carers. Parents and carers could ask, for example, for flexible working hours or working patterns and for the right to work remotely.
MEP Clune added:
“The workplace can be an exciting and exhilarating place. However it can also be a challenging place. What many people will struggle with is getting their work/life balance right. We are doing a lot of work at the European Parliament on the promotion of a good work/life balance and I am delighted to see there are now further developments in this area which can help those in the workforce who need it.”
This will now be referred back to the Commission and they will set a date for it to come into law.
Karen O’Reilly, Founder of Employmum also commented saying:
“We are delighted to see this happening as we have been lobbying for this for three years since Employmum was born. With over 3,500 professionals registered with us, we have a unique insight as to what women in particular want in the workplace and flexibility is top of their wish list. Flexible work can mean a variety of different options and is something employers should not be afraid of – the types of flexible work can be part-time/remote work/job share/compressed hours/annualised hours/full time with flexible hours.
“Savvy companies are also coming to the table to talk about flexibility in the workplace as they realise that by offering flexibility, they can obtain and retain the best people in the current war for talent. We recently launched the FLEXIT campaign, a flexible quality mark, which we award to companies that are offering real flexible work arrangements. This separates the companies just offering lip service to the idea from the companies who are genuinely committed to offering flexible work.
“We would love to see this directive extended to everyone in the workplace, not just parents and carers (30% of our current placements are male and non-parent, despite the name Employmum) Flexible work is the future of work and companies who are not embracing this at the moment will suffer.”