Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

News 31/07/2018

New EPIC policy memo assesses current paternity and parental leave provisions across the EU

A new EPIC policy memo provides a brief description of current paternity and parental leave provisions and explores how these provisions might need to change in view of the initiatives launched under the European Pillar of Social Rights.

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Paternity and parental leave across the EU

Overall, 17 Member States already meet the proposed minimum of 2 weeks’ paternity leave at the time of child’s birth. However, of these countries, only 13 offer 2 weeks of well-paid paternity leave. A well-paid leave, as defined by the European Commission, comprises at least 66% of previous earnings since lower earnings create a risk of a low-wage trap.

Similarly, just over a third of EU28 Member States reserve a proportion of parental leave for fathers. In addition, parental leave is often now well-paid. However, 90% of fathers across the EU do not use parental leave entitlements.

Developed as part of the European Platform for Investing in Children, the policy memo on Paternity and parental leave policies across the European Union provides an assessment of current provision at Member State level. These provisions are subsequently assessed against a proposal for a Directive on Work-Life Balance for Parents and Carers.

The new Directive proposes to tackle challenges for the uptake of paternity and parental leave by proposing that leave should be better compensated and leave should be established as an individual and non-transferable right to encourage fathers to be more involved in childcare.

While decisions about childcare responsibilities are naturally taken by families, governments can support families by putting in place policies to enable a more balanced sharing of care responsibilities and reduce the financial disincentives for parents who choose to take leave.

EPIC supports Member States to invest in children

This memo is the second in a series of short policy memos aimed at policymakers, researchers and practitioners and focusing on topics relevant to child welfare.

Other policy memos in this series cover:

  • the use of EU funding mechanisms to invest in children,
  • provision of education for migrant and refugee children in Europe and
  • the effective implementation of evidence-based practices and programmes to support child and family wellbeing.

EPIC also provides a wide range of content focused on tackling childhood disadvantage, including a collection of evidence-based practices from across Member States and country profiles, available in English, French and German, which provide an overview of measures taken in each Member State to support investment in children.


This news item was written for the European Platform for Investing in Children (EPIC).

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