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Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on work-life balance for parents and carers

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European Parliament
Publication Date: 
12 Jul 2019


The current Union legal framework provides limited incentives for men to assume an equal share of caring responsibilities. The lack of paid paternity and parental leave in many Member States contributes to the low takeup of leave by fathers. The imbalance in the design of work-life balance policies between women and men reinforces gender stereotypes and differences between work and care. Policies on equal treatment should aim to address the issue of stereotypes in both men's and women's occupations and roles, and the social partners are encouraged to act upon their key role in informing both workers and employers and raising their awareness of tackling discrimination. Furthermore, the use of work-life balance arrangements by fathers, such as leave or flexible working arrangements, has been shown to have a positive impact in reducing the relative amount of unpaid family work undertaken by women and leaving them more time for paid employment.


In implementing this Directive, Member States should take into consideration that the equal uptake of familyrelated leave between men and women also depends on other appropriate measures, such as the provision of accessible and affordable childcare and long-term care services, which are crucial for the purpose of allowing parents, and other persons with caring responsibilities to enter, remain in, or return to the labour market. Removing economic disincentives can also encourage second earners, the majority of whom are women, to participate fully in the labour market.