The European Parliament adopted a non-legislative resolution on care services in the EU for improved gender equality on Thursday.
Regardless of the differences between the users and their needs, care services should be developed in a person-centred, individualised and comprehensive way, says a resolution adopted in Plenary on Thursday (385 votes in favour, 68 against and 113 abstentions). Cares services should also provide genuine choices for all users, their family members and their carers, be they in full- or part-time employment, self-employed or unemployed, the text adds.
Welcoming the Commission’s proposal for a directive on work-life balance for workers and carers, MEPs underline the importance of an individual’s rights to leave and flexible working arrangements for helping individuals to manage their private and professional lives. They also emphasise that making diverse, quality, accessible and affordable public and private care services available has proved to be a crucial aspect of work-life balance policies, notably to help women make a swift return to and remain in the labour market.
In order to offer quality care, MEPs call on the European Commission to provide guidance for member states on developing comprehensive employment-friendly, person-centred, community-based and accessible care services which include childcare, care services for older persons and for persons with disabilities and/or chronic illnesses.
They further call on the Commission to improve the collection of gender-disaggregated data and develop statistics, comparable definitions and indicators to assess how accessible, quality, available and efficient care services are at EU level from a gender perspective.
Regarding carers in the EU, 75% of which are women, MEPs ask the Commission to present to the Council a European carers’ programme, in order to identify and recognise the various types of care-giving in the EU, to guarantee financial support for carers and to develop their work-life balance.
Finally, regarding funding, they call on member states to invest more in care services and infrastructure for children and for care for other dependants. They also call on more investment in special measures that would enable carers to maintain an active professional life.
Rapporteur Sirpa Pietikäinen (EPP, FI) said: ‘‘Quality care services and an EU-wide programme to address carers' support needs are prerequisite both for the dignity and a good life for our close ones in need for care and for the equality of women.’’