Posted on Jan 27, 2019
European Parliament Employment Committee negotiators have struck a deal with EU ministers on paternity leave and non-transferable parental leave to boost women’s chances in the labour market.
The agreement sets minimum requirements for member states, in a bid to boost women’s representation in the workplace and strengthen the role of a father or an equivalent second parent in the family. This would benefit children and family life, whilst reflecting societal changes more accurately, and promoting gender equality.
Negotiators agreed to introduce the right to at least 10 working days of paid paternity leave for fathers and equivalent second parents (where a second parent is recognised by national law) around the time of birth or adoption and paid at not less than the level of sick pay.
They 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. Negotiators agreed that member states would 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.
The level of payment should allow for decent living standards, thus encouraging both parents to take leave.
To provide flexibility for member states with generous parental leave systems, a clause has been added, upon the request of EU ministers, by which member states guarantee that a worker will receive a payment or allowance of at least 65% of their net wage, for at least 6 months of parental leave for each parent. Member states may decide to maintain such a system.
Finally, they agreed on 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.
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.
David Casa, a Maltese MEP and the European Parliament’s lead negotiator on this file hailed the agreement.Casa stated, “What we have achieved today will have a concrete, positive impact on the lives of citizens across the EU”.
The informally agreed text will have to be confirmed by a plenary vote.
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