The EU Commission wants to improve social protection of parents and family carers. The changes proposed are nothing new for the German social security system.

ST – 06/2017

As part of the European Pillar of Social Rights, the European Commission wants to improve national regulations in order to increase the level of social protection for parents and family carers in all participating Member States.  


The proposed initiative hopes to reduce gender-specific inequalities in the working life. Women should be given more opportunity to pursue a career or to increase the number of hours they work in their current job. This should also improve the level of wages and pensions. Ultimately, the proposed Directive aims to strengthen economic growth in the EU and to improve the labour market situation, particularly for women.  

New plans for family carers

According to the proposal, family carers will be entitled to five days of paid leave per year. This should be compensated at least at sick pay level. In Germany, family carers are already entitled to up to 10 days paid holiday leave. The money is paid by long-term care insurance and is based on tariffs or a nursing assistance allowance. This is ninety percent of the actual net remuneration.  


In addition, family carers and parents with children aged up to 12 should be given the option of flexible working hours, flexible working arrangements and a flexible place of work in agreement with their employer.  

Regulations for parents

The recommendations on maternity leave are intended to improve existing regulations which protect against dismissal and to develop guidelines that make it possible to successfully transition from maternity leave to employment. Fathers will be able to take 10 days of paid paternity leave. Parents will also be entitled to four months’ paid parental leave which is non-transferable to the partner. This will be compensated at least at sick pay level. Who will pay for this is not yet fully clarified and will be decided upon transposition into national law.  

What next?

The legislative proposal will be discussed in the coming weeks in the European Parliament and Council.