Parental leave is only the first step towards work-life balance, say MEPs
Women’s rights/Equal opportunities - 04-11-2009 - 14:52
Parental leave is the first step towards achieving a good "work-life balance"
and should as such be supported by Parliament, Commission and Council, say
MEPs from the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality. Further
measures are also needed to encourage men to equally share family
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
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
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.