The European Parliament and the Council (the Member States) reached an agreement on a new directive on Thursday to improve the work-life balance of parents and carers.
The agreement is based on a proposal that the European Commission formulated in the spring of 2017 and creates a European minimum of 10 days of paternity leave following the birth of the child.
It also extends the current entitlement to parental leave to four months, two of which can be transferred to the other parent.
For the two non-transferable months, the level of remuneration will be determined by individual Member States.
The EU institutions have also agreed on a new right for carers leave of up to five days per worker per year. Currently, there is no European minimum standard, except in cases of force majeure for unexpected or unavoidable family reasons.
Finally, the new rules reinforce the right for all parents and carers to request flexible work arrangements, such as more flexible hours or remote working.
The provisional agreement must now be formally adopted by the European Parliament and the Council.
The directive aims to reduce the pay and pension gap between men and women, the latter having an employment rate in Europe 11.5 percentage points lower than that of men. Women also work more often than men on a part-time basis. ” Companies, more than ever in search of talent, will benefit from a stronger participation of women in the labor market ,” said Commissioner for Employment and Social Affairs, Marianne Thyssen.