European legislators reached a provisional agreement and concluded the trilogue negotiations on the Work-Life Balance Directive on January 24, 2019. The agreement still needs to be endorsed by Member States and approved by formal vote in European Parliament and Council.

What was achieved?

  • Fathers or second parents will be able to take at least 10 working days of paternity leave which will be paid equal to the maternity leave;
  • The individual right to 4 months of parental leave, from which 2 months are non-transferable between parents and are paid;
  • A new “carers’ leave” of 5 days per year for workers caring for relatives in need of support due to serious medical reasons;
  • The right of parents of children up to 8 years and of carers to request flexible working arrangements (modified hours or teleworking) with the guarantee that, at the end of the period, they can return to the same, or an equivalent, job and their original working time.

However, much more needs to be done to achieve a social Europe where gender equality and equal opportunities are truly ensured. The drawbacks include:

  • The decision on payment for parental leave and carers’ leave are left to Member States;
  • The rights are limited, because Member States can introduce length of service requirements for workers to qualify for leave;
  • The time period for Member States to implement the directive in their national law is very long – 3 years.

IndustriAll Europe welcomes the paid paternity, parental and carers’ leave which are currently missing from European legislation, but regrets the loopholes which allow for the limitation of those rights by members states.

Luc Triangle, industriAll Europe general secretary, said:"With this first legislative output, the European legislators finally show to European workers and citizens that the European Pillar of Social Rights is not just an empty promise. We expect from the legislators to also deliver on the other elements of the Pillar and to show that they are truly working towards ensuring a social Europe for workers and citizens."