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MODULE 6 - Unit 4

WORK LIFE BALANCE & European dimension


Policy measures of Directive 2019/1158

To support Member States in achieving common goals in order to complement the legislative measures, the proposal contains, also, a set of non-legislative measures.Ensuring protection against discrimination and dismissal for parents (including pregnant women and workers coming back from a leave) and carers. In this area, there were already other laws, so the proposal for the directive 2019/1158, has taken these legislative acts into account and integrated it. Directive 2006/54 establishes a principle of equal opportunities and equal treatment of men and women in matters of employment and occupation. Working men and women are protected against dismissal due to taking paternity and adoption leave. They are entitled to return to their jobs or to equivalent posts on terms and conditions which are no less favourable to them. They are entitled to benefit from any improvement in working conditions to which they would have been entitled during their absence.


Encouraging a gender-balanced use of family-related leaves and flexible working arrangementsThe economic loss due to the gender employment gap amounts to €370 billion per year. The amount of private and care responsibilities is most linked to women “duties“ more than men, even if there is an increase in women participation in the labours market. Also, if we unite the time dedicated to unpaid labour (domestic duties, children care, etc.) and personal activities, overall, women work more than men. Statistics show that men would prefer to work less hours during the parenting phase. These findings also suggest a potential for change for a better and more equally shared work-life balance arrangements to families.Making better use of European funds to improve provision of formal care services The European Social Fund + (ESF+) is the European Union (EU)’s main instrument for investing in people. In 2021-2027 EU Planning, it has invested nearly over €1.4 billion from the EU budget, dedicated to the priority of promoting equality at work – including access to employment and career progression, work-life balance and equal remuneration. This is in addition to the nearly €4.4 billion invested from the EU budget for specific initiatives to advance gender equality. ESF+ also investing in the availability, accessibility and affordability of care infrastructure (childcare, out-of-school care and long-term care), because these are crucial elements to allow parents and carers to stay on or join the labour market.


Economic disincentives Because of the structure of tax and fiscal systems in European Union countries, financial incentives to work for single parents and one-earner families with children are weak. The return to work is promoted with reduced incentives after a period of unemployment or inactivity. Labor income taxes system affect family and labor supply decisions—often in an interrelated manner—with important gender implications. For example, the definition of the tax base is an important factor in labor supply and family decisions. It determines potential savings from unpaid work at the household level. The reason is that work performed by the spouse who stays at home (in most cases the wife) is untaxed. If she decides to enter the labor force, the family must pay for the services she provided at home.These policy measures will benefit companies and individuals. Workers will be more motivated and productive at work and there will be less absenteeism. Furthermore, the rise in women’s employment will contribute to ensuring Member States' financial stability, their families' economic prosperity, social inclusion and health.The Council adopted the proposal on 13 June 2019. The Directive entered into force in July 2019.


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