The European Commission has launched today a first stage consultation with EU social partner organisations on how to improve work-life balance and reduce obstacles to women's participation in the labour market.
This consultation follows the recent withdrawal of the Commission's 2008 proposal to amend the Maternity Leave Directive. The Commission is committed to replacing the withdrawn proposal with a 'new start' initiative, which will seek to address work-life balance in a comprehensive way.
The consultation document gives an overview of the main challenges arising from work-life balance for parents and people with caring responsibilities; takes stock of the current EU-level legislation already existing in the area of work-life balance such as maternity leave, parental leave and part-time work; and invites the social partners to identify possible improvements to existing EU-level legislation.
The employees' and employers' organisations have until 4 January 2016 to submit their views on the possible directions of EU action.
In complement to this consultation, a broad public consultation on work-life balance is also set to be launched later this month.
In August 2015 the Commission published a Roadmap for the initiative ‘A new start to address the challenges of work-life balance faced by working families’ , which will replace the 2008 Commission proposal to amend the Maternity Leave Directive. The objective for this new initiative is to modernise and adapt the current EU legal and policy framework to allow for parents with children or those with dependent relatives to better balance caring and professional responsibilities, encourage a more equitable use of work-life balance policies between women and men, and to strengthen gender equality in the labour market.