Directive (EU) 2019/1158 on work-life balance for parents and carers entered into
force on 1 July 2019. The aim of the Directive is to modernise the existing EU
legal framework on family-related leave and allow more flexible working
provides for the following minimum requirements:
Fathers, or equivalent
second parents recognised by national law, shall be entitled to ten working
days of paternity leave at around the time of their child’s birth. They shall
receive an allowance that is at least equal to national sick pay. Entitlement
to paternity leave itself is not dependent on a certain period of employment,
but the right to payment or an allowance may be conditional on a previous
period of employment of up to a maximum of six months.
Workers shall have
an individual right to parental leave of four months, which can be taken prior to
the child reaching a certain age, up to a maximum of eight years of age. Two
months of parental leave cannot be transferred between parents. The level of
pay shall be determined by the Member States or the social partners.
Carers’ leave is to
be introduced. Workers who care for relatives in need have the right to five
working days of carers’ leave per year. In accordance with national practice, Member
States may choose a different reference period other than a year and may
introduce further conditions for entitlement to carers’ leave.
Flexible working arrangements
The right to
request flexible working arrangements has been extended. Workers with children
up to the age of eight, as well as carers, will be able to apply for more
flexible working hours for caring purposes. A reasonable time limit can be set
presented its proposal in April 2017 as one of the measures to implement the
European Pillar of Social Rights. Its aim is to address the
under-representation of women in the labour market and at the same time to
achieve a fairer division of parenting and caring responsibilities between
women and men.
At 75.5%, the rate
for men in full-time employment is currently 18 percentage points higher than
the 57.4% rate for women in full-time employment. Whereas 31.1% of working
women work part-time, the figure for men is only 8.2%. Almost 31% of women who
are not active in the labour market state that caring for relatives was the
reason for non-participation; for men, this figure was only 4.5%. The
modernisation of the regulations was not only a matter of fairness, but also
necessary for economic reasons. The Commission estimates the economic losses
caused by the gender gap in employment at €370 billion per year.
The Council and
Parliament agreed on a compromise in January 2019, which was formally approved
by Parliament at its meeting on 4 April and by the Council on 13 June. Member
States now have three years to transpose the Directive into national law.
Due to Germany’s
existing work-life balance regulations, Germany already complies with the
minimum standards laid down in the Directive and there is no need to transpose
it. According to the Federal Ministry for Family
Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth, Germany’s system
of work-life measures currently puts parents and carers in a better position
than is required by the Directive.