The new European proposal to improve work-life balance

#society #women #gender equality

The measures are aimed at preventing inequalities between working men and women. The European Union estimates that on average women spend 22 unpaid hours every week caring for their children, 12 more than men.

Gender equality.

This is proof that men and women in the EU do not experience work-life balance in the same way: responsibilities related to family care are the cause of professional inactivity for 20% of European women, but for only 2% of European men. "Living in the 21st Century means we need a 21st Century attitude towards life and work, towards men and women. Our daughters and sons shouldn't have to fulfil the role models of our grandparents", explains Frans Timmermans, first Vice-President of the European Commission (EC).

For this reason, the EC has drawn up a proposal on creating a balance between work and family life that establishes a series of new minimum standards — or standards that are broader in scope than those currently in force — with regards to parental leave, paternity and caregivers. "Balancing work and family life is a daily challenge for women and men all over Europe", says Vera Jourová, EU Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality. "Our new proposal aims to strengthen the rights and improve the conditions for working parents and carers to reconcile work and family responsibilities. It will give more flexibility and better protection to mothers, fathers, and carers, whether they wish to take time off caring for their children, benefit from flexible working arrangements or wish to go back to work".

The work-life balance improvements proposed by the European Commission.#RRSSThe work-life balance improvements proposed by the European Commission.

 SEE INFOGRAPHIC: The work-life balance improvements proposed by the European Commission [PDF]

The proposal establishes either new minimum standards or standards that are broader in scope than those currently in force in order to create greater convergence among the EU Member States. It offers the following advantages:

For the citizenry:

  • It improves the conditions for parents and caregivers with paid work and increases the rate of employment, earnings and career progress for women.
  • It reduces the wage and pension gaps as well as women's exposure to poverty.
  • Fathers will have greater opportunities and incentives to participate in family life.

For companies:

  • With more women in the labour market, the number of available qualified people will increase.
  • Decrease in the shortage of professional skills.
  • Companies, with their Reconciliation policy, will be better able to attract and retain their workers.

For the EU Member States:

  • Public finances will become more sustainable as unemployment decreases and tax revenues increase.

For the economy:

  • The increase in the supply of a labour force will boost competitiveness.
  • Demographic challenges will be better addressed by harnessing the best from our human capital.


 Equal Opportunity and Reconciliation Policy

 Iberdrola with work-life balance

 Gender employment gap