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New EU rules on work-life balance enter into force

03 August 2022, 23:23 CET
New EU rules on work-life balance enter into force

Working mother - Image © yurolaitsalbert - Fotolia

(BRUSSELS) - New EU-wide rules to improve work-life balance for parents entered into force on Tuesday, setting minimum standards for paternity, parental leave and offering the right to request flexible working.

All EU Member States now need to apply the rules on work-life balance which were adopted in 2019 and are aimed at helping people to develop their careers and family life without having to sacrifice either.

The Directive was welcomed by the European Commission. "The EU Work-Life Balance Directive encourages men and women to share parenting and caring responsibilities better," said Equality Commissioner Helena Dalli: "Men and women alike deserve an equal chance to take parental leave and carers' leave, as well as equal opportunities to be part of and thrive in the labour market."

The Directive on work-life balance aims to both increase (i) the participation of women in the labour market and (ii) the take-up of family-related leave and flexible working arrangements. Overall, women's employment rate in the EU is 10.8 percentage points lower than men's. Moreover, only 68% of women with care responsibilities work compared to 81% of men with the same duties.

The Directive allows workers leave to care for relatives who need support and overall means that parents and carers are able to reconcile professional and private lives.

  • Paternity leave: Working fathers are entitled to at least 10 working days of paternity leave around the time of birth of the child. Paternity leave must be compensated at least at the level of sick pay;
  • Parental leave: Each parent is entitled to at least four months of parental leave, of which two months is paid and non-transferable. Parents can request to take their leave in a flexible form, either full-time, part-time, or in segments;
  • Carers' leave: All workers providing personal care or support to a relative or person living in the same household have the right to at least five working days of carers' leave per year;
  • Flexible Working Arrangements: All working parents with children of up to at least eight years old and all carers have the right to request reduced working hours, flexible working hours, and flexibility in the place of work.

Factsheet - New Work-Life Balance Rights

Website - Work-life balance

Website - Women's situation in the labour market

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