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MODULE 6 - Unit 3

WORK LIFE BALANCE & European dimension


Legal measures of Directive 2019/1158

To achieve its objectives, the EU used several types of legal acts. Two of them are: directive and regulation.What is a directive?A "directive" is a legislative act that sets out a goal that all EU countries must achieve. However, it is up to the individual countries to devise their own laws on how to reach these goals.What is a regulation?A "regulation" is a binding legislative act. It must be applied in its entirety across the EU.The WLB Initiative aims at modernising the existing EU legal framework in the area of family-related leaves and flexible working arrangements. The proposal for a Directive on work-life balance for parents and carers includes legal measures.


Paternity leaveFathers/equivalent second parents will be able to take at least 10 working days of paternity leave around the time of birth of the child, compensated at least at the level of sick pay. EU countries have different regulations for paternity leave (Directive 2019/1158). For example, Italy, Croatia and Slovakia will have to introduce paid paternity leave for the first time, and the length of paid paternity leave will be doubled in Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Portugal and Romania.Parental leaveEstablish a minimum of 4 months of parental leave, by making 2 out of the 4 months non-transferable from a parent to another and compensated at a level to be set by Member States. Parents will also have the right to request to take the leave in a flexible way (e.g. part-time or in a piecemeal way) (Directive 2019/1158). For example, in Denmark, since August 2022, each parent has the right to a total of 24 weeks. This includes 11 weeks of “earmarked” leave per parent, to encourage fathers to take a role in childcare; eight weeks of transferable maternity and paternity leave for each parent to be used before the child’s first birthday; and five weeks of transferable parental leave available until the child’s ninth birthday.


Carer’s leaveIntroduce carers’ leave and establish 5 working days per year for each worker providing personal care or support to a relative or person living in the same household (Directive 2019/1158). For example, in the leave policy changes in 2020/2021, Belgium introduced care leaves, as well as Switzerland; and newly introduced rights to take leave in the case of children with (serious) illnesses (e.g. in Greece) (Alison Koslowski et al. 17th International Review of Leave Policies and Related Research, 2021).Flexible workingGive all working parents of children up to at least 8 years and all carers a right to request flexible working arrangements (e.g. reduced working hours, flexible working hours and flexibility in place of work) (Directive 2019/1158). For example, in Netherlands, there was already a law, The Dutch Flexible Work Act, in force as of 2016, that grants workers a right to request changes to their working arrangements. This pre-existing law has been integrated with the directive.The Council adopted the proposal on 13 June 2019. The Directive entered into force in July 2019.


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