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Europe takes a small step towards better work-life balance!

On 24 of January, the EU Presidency reached provisional agreement with the European Parliament on a legislative proposal for better work life balance. The proposal, which is far less ambitious than the original proposal by the European Commission still needs to agreed by the member states. The major elements of the compromise are:

  • fathers or second parents will be able to take at least 10 working days of paternity leave around the time of birth of a child paid at a level equal to that currently set at EU level for maternity leave (in line with article 11 of Council Directive 92/85/EEC). The right to paternity leave will not be subject to a prior service requirement. However, the payment of the paternity leave can be subject to a six month prior service requirement. Member states with more generous parental leave systems will be able to keep their current national arrangements;

  • individual right to 4 months of parental leave, from which 2 months are non-transferable between the parents and are paid. The level of payment is to be set by member states;

  • a new concept at EU level - carers' leave for workers caring for relatives in need of care or support due to serious medical reasons. Carers will be able to take 5 working days per year. Member states may use a different reference period, allocate leave on a case-by-case basis, and may introduce additional conditions for the exercise of this right;

  • extension of the right to request flexible working arrangements to working carers in addition to this right for all parents.

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