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The European social partners signed on 18 June 2009 a revised Framework Agreement increasing the duration of parental leave from three to four months per parent.
The Agreement applies to all employees regardless of their type of contract. It is the result of six months' negotiations between the European social partners (ETUC, BUSINESSEUROPE, CEEP and UEAPME) and reflects the changes that have occurred in society and on the labour market since the first Framework Agreement on parental leave was signed in 1995. Vladimír Špidla, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities attended the official signing this morning.
The new Agreement:
The Commission must now examine the provisions of the agreement. Before the summer, it will submit a proposal to the Council for implementation of the agreement by a directive while taking into account the Treaty provisions on social dialogue. The directive must be adopted by a qualified majority of the Council.
After the two stages of consultation on reconciling private, working and family life with the involvement of the European social partners, the cross-industry social dialogue institutions decided to negotiate an agreement on parental leave. This resulted in the conclusion of the first Framework Agreement at Community level in December 1995, followed by a Council Directive in 1996 (Directive 96/34/EC). Almost 15 years later, considering that it was time to update the contents of this agreement, the partners decided to negotiate a revised version. The negotiations started in September 2008 and were completed in March 2009.