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Final approval for new EU rules to reconcile work and family life

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Final approval for new EU rules to reconcile work and family life

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(STRASBOURG) - New rules on paternity leave and non-transferable parental leave, given final approval by MEPs on Thursday, strengthen the role of a father and boost women's representation in the workplace.

The law sets minimum requirements for all EU Member States to the benefit of children and family life, whilst reflecting societal changes more accurately, and promoting gender equality.

The right to at least 10 working days of paid paternity leave for fathers and equivalent second parents (where recognised by national law) has been granted around the time of birth or stillbirth and paid at not less than the level of sick pay.

MEPs also added two months of non-transferable and paid parental leave. This leave should be an individual right, creating the appropriate conditions for a more balanced distribution of caring responsibilities within the family.

Member states will set an adequate level of payment or allowance for the minimum non-transferable period of parental leave, taking into account that the take-up of parental leave often results in a loss of income for the family and a higher-paid family member (who is often a man) should be able to make use of this right.

Member states must offer 5 days per year of carer's leave for workers providing personal care to a relative or a person living in the same household and with a serious medical condition or age-related impairment.

Member states that already guarantee a payment or allowance of at least 65% of a worker's net wage, for at least 6 months of parental leave for each parent may maintain such a system.

"This directive invests in bringing about more gender equality and a better division of responsibilities," said rapporteur David Casa MEP: "Women have suffered from lack of equality leading to difference in salaries and a pension gap. Now they will be supported to enter the labour market and reach their full potential, while fathers will have a bigger role in their children's upbringing."

Working parents and carers would be able to request an adjustment to their working patterns including, where feasible, through remote working or flexible schedules. When considering flexible working requests, employers may take into account not only their own resources and operational capacity, but also the specific needs of a parent of children with a disability and long-term illness and those of single parents.

Further information, European Parliament

Adopted text will be available here (04.04.2019)

Procedure file

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