New rules to improve parents' work-life balance 

New EU rules could help parents and carers achieve a better work-life balance ©AP Images/European Union 2018 - EP 

The European Parliament is working on new rules to allow parents and carers to better reconcile their work and private lives.

Why new EU rules are needed

More adaptable working conditions and family and care-related leave would help working parents and carers balance private and professional interests and avoid the need  to choose between  family and career.

Women, whose employment rate was 66.5% (compared to 78% for men) in 2017, are far more likely to work part-time due to caring responsibilities and face career interruptions, which contribute to them being paid less and having lower pensions on average than men.

Negotiations about to start

On 12 September, MEPs voted in favour of starting negotiations on new EU rules for a better work-life balance to address the underrepresentation of women in the labour market, to increase incentives for fathers to take up family-related leave and to foster gender equality and equal opportunities. Parliament will start negotiations with the Council and Commission later this month.

What Parliament is proposing

MEPs advocate new or higher minimum standards for parental and carer’s leave:

  • Right of at least 10 days' paid paternity leave for fathers or equivalent second parents around the time of birth, stillbirth and adoption
  • Individual right of four months of non-transferable parental leave to be taken before the child is 10
  • Right to paid carer’s leave for workers caring for seriously ill or dependant relatives
  • The level of payment or allowance should correspond to a minimum of 78% of the worker’s gross wage for parental and carer’s leave and a minimum of 80% for paternity leave
  • Parents should benefit from adjustable working patterns such as remote working