The Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality adopted Wednesday a motion for a resolution on EU measures to support gender equality in balancing work and family rights and responsibilities (17 votes in favour, 0 against and 13 abstentions).
Only minimum requirements and provisions are currently set out in the framework agreement on parental leave that was signed by social partners in 2005: further measures in support of flexible work methods still need to be developed in order to strike the right balance between professional and family life. This balance is an essential aspect of equal opportunities policy: Council therefore needs to take action in the field swiftly, say MEPs.
The current framework agreement does not adequately cover the following issues, MEPs believe:
- Introduction at EU level of an entitlement to paternity leave: the leave time should be paid, non-transferable, and the parent should conserve all his rights. This would help fathers develop a bond with the child around the time of the birth or adoption.
- Pay issues should also be regulated at EU level to avoid a disproportionate impact on single-income households. The majority of single parents with children are women.
- A non-transferable basis of parental leave for the entire four months should be stipulated.
In their resolution, members of the committee welcome the fact that part-time, fixed term contract and temporary workers are able to take parental leave.
Demographic changes, the effects of an ageing population, closing the generation gap, promoting women's participation in the workforce, the increasing diversity of family structures and the sharing of caring responsibilities between men and women: all these issues should be taken into account in family policies, they insist.
Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality
In the Chair: Eva-Britt Svensson (GUE/NGL, SW)