Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

News 14/08/2019

EPIC publishes policy memo on leave arrangements for non-traditional families

The European Platform for Investing in Children (EPIC) has published a policy memo focusing on leave provision for non-traditional families, including adoptive families, families with same-sex parents, and ‘reconstituted’ families (with step-parents and step-children).

EPIC publishes policy memo on leave arrangements for non-traditional families

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Supporting family life for non-traditional families

The right to maternity, paternity and parental leave for families is now well established in many European Union (EU) Member States. However, as policy is formulated and positioned towards the traditional nuclear family, the access that other, less traditional family types have to such leave is under-explored.

This EPIC policy memo draws on a range of data sources in order to examine the access that adoptive families, reconstituted families and families with same-sex parents have to different types of family leave.

It finds that almost all Member States make provision for adoptive families, with some offering leave arrangements above and beyond what is offered to other families. However, access to parental leave is more complicated for families with same-sex parents and reconstituted families. Only a minority of Member States allow the partner of a parent to take parental leave to look after a child to whom they have no legal relationship. As same-sex couples’ access to different types of family leave depends almost entirely on their legal rights to become parents, this too is developing unevenly across Member States. These inequalities result in different parental care provisions being available to children, depending on the type of families and the Member State in which they grow up.   

EPIC supports Member States to invest in children

The memo is part of a series of short policy memos focusing on topics relevant to child welfare aimed at policymakers, researchers and practitioners. Previous policy memos have focused on the provision of paternity and parental leave across the EU and practices to support family-friendly workplaces.

EPIC also publishes a wide range of content focused on supporting child wellbeing. This includes country profiles which provide an overview of measures taken in each Member State to support investment in children, and a collection of innovative and evidence-based practices.

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