European Commission, Council and Parliament agreed measures to improve work-life balance.
“Good news for families in Europe” and “A huge step towards a more social Europe“, “Families with working parents and carers will get a real choice to combine their work and private life”; these were the statements made by the Commission to comment on the preliminary agreement on the Work-Life Balance Directive.
The preliminary agreement mainly comprises the following four measures:
- Following the birth of a child, entitlement to paternity leave of at least ten days. No certain duration of employment is required for the labour law-related leave entitlement; with regard to the entitlement of the paternity leave being paid, the duration of employment is maximal six months.
- Entitlement to parental leave of least four months. Maximal two months of this period may be transferred to the partner. The income substitution for the two non-transferrable months will be determined by the Member States.
- All workers will have the right to five working days of carers`leave per year
- Flexible working time regulations for parents at least until the child reaches the age of 8; for relatives caring for family members and the right to return to the original working hours.
As to-date, Austria has not transposed a general legal claim to paternity leave into national legislation, this European measure has to be regarded as positive. However, it is regrettable that only a short period of ten days has been determined, which from the AK’s point of view is hardly adequate to affect an increase in the involvement of fathers. This requires a longer period. The AK therefore demands a legal entitlement to a complete “Daddy month”.
From the AK’s point of view, the Work-Life Balance Directive comprises clear improvements. The announcement that families will be given a “real choice” to combine work and private life is not clear from the documents published so far. Hence it appears that some workers will be faced with unsolved issues even after the agreement.