The objective of the hearing was to establish the social partners’ views on the desirability of additional EU legislative (and non-legislative) measures to support better work-life balance solutions in the different EU Member States.
The hearing took place against the backdrop of the Commission’s recent Roadmap ‘New start to address the challenges of work-life balance faced by working families‘, which discussed possible additional measures to be taken at EU level in favour of a more adequate work-life balance for working families and carers. The basis of the hearing was a written social partner consultation by the European Commission which closed in early January 2016 and in which CESI also participated with a formal contribution.
During the hearing, a Commission delegation, headed by the Director-General of DG Employment Michel Servoz, outlined the rationale of the roadmap, provided an overview of the current EU level policy tools to support work-life balance and outlined the current EU legal framework in the area of work-life balance.
Regrettably, employer representatives, headed by BUSINESSEUROPE, UEAPME and CEEP, made clear that they reject new measures any time soon. Neither new social and employment legislation nor new or adapted EU level social partner agreements are desired, the delegation declared. According to them, more research is needed in order to find the best work-life balance solutions. In CESI’s view, this is a mere strategy to delay better working conditions for employees. CESI attaches great importance to achieving a well-regulated flexibilisation of working time and the location of work, better interlinked full-time/part-time work schemes and better child and elderly care options for workers.
Fortunately, the Commission representatives indicated that they do want to progress quickly towards better work-life balance schemes in Europe. To this end, a second-phase social partner consultation is to be launched in April or May to concretely discuss possible legislative and non-legislative measures.
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