FOR INFO: Provisional agreement over the ‘work-life balance’ Directive

Dear colleagues,

yesterday the Trilogue reached a consensus on a the Directive on work-life balance.

You may find ETUC statement here as well as the one of the European Commission.

The provisional text has yet to be formally adopted by the Council and Parliament in plenary to become permanent and it introduces the principle of two months' pay for parental leave, as well as a minimum of 10 days' paid paternity leave and 5 days' leave per year (unpaid) for carers. In addition, the new Directive would  improve the possibilities of flexible working time arrangements.

The provisional agreement introduces the following minimal provisions:

  • It strengthens the existing right to 4 months of parental leave, by making 2 months non-transferable (one month today) between parents and introducing compensation for these 2 months at an 'adequate'  level to be determined by the Member States;
  • In order to be eligible parents must have already worked in the company for a period of a year and their child has to be under the age of 12 years (8 today). In terms of the length of time during which the parent on leave can be remunerated, the text intends for an evolving approach so that remuneration will initially be paid for a month and a half, and five years after the Directive comes into force this period will rise to two months remuneration.
  • A minimum of 10 days paternity leave (for the father and the second parent as far as the status exists in the national law). The latter will be remunerated at the rate set for maternity leave according to directive 92/85 on the proviso that the co-parent has already worked within the company for a period of six months. The text also includes derogation for EU Member States that already operate within a generous parental leave system such as Germany. This derogation, called a ‘bridging clause’ allows Member States to maintain their own systems once they guarantee ‘adequate payment or compensation of at least 65% of a worker’s net salary, potentially subject to a ceiling level, and for at least a period of 6 months parental leave for each parent.’
  •  Five days carer leave for workers to take care of close relatives’ serious illness or dependence. Regrettably, this provision does not mention any remuneration level at all.
  •  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.
  • This provisional agreement now has to be delivered to the EU Parliament and the Council for formal approval, after which time the new rules will apply three years after it officially comes into force.

We take the opportunity to thank you the several members of the women's committee who lobbied hard to achieve this result and we remain at your disposal should you require any further information.

Kind regards,

Cinzia