CESI welcomes final adoption of EU regulation on a new European Labour Authority and new EU directives on work-life balance and on transparent and predictable working conditions

CESI welcomes the final adoption of a EU regulation on a new European Labour Authority and new EU directives on work-life balance and transparent and predictable working conditions on June 19.

Together with its Commissions on Employment and Social Affairs, headed by Javier Jordán de Urries Sagarna (CSIF) and Siglinde Hasse (dbb/GdS), and on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, headed by Kirsten Lühmann (dbb), Carmen Jaffke (CGFP) and Cathy Verschraegen (UNSP), the CESI General Secretariat had consistently raised the merits that the three initiatives can bring for a more social Europe towards decision-makers at the European and national levels.

The new EU directive for work-life balance for parents and carers stipulates in particular:

• a new minimum standard on paternity leave: Fathers or second parents will be able to take at least 10 working days of leave around the time of birth of a child paid at a level equal to that currently set at EU level for maternity leave (in line with article 11 of Council Directive 92/85/EEC). The right to paternity leave will not be subject to a prior service requirement. However, the payment of paternity leave can be subject to a six-month prior service requirement. Member states with more generous parental leave systems will be able to keep their current national arrangements

• a new minimum standard on parental leave: An individual right to 4 months of parental leave, from which 2 months are non-transferable between the parents and are paid. The level of payment and the age limit of the child will be set by member states

• a new minimum standard on a carers’ leave: A new concept at EU level for workers caring for relatives in need of care or support due to serious medical reasons. Carers will be able to take 5 working days per year. Member states may use a different reference period, allocate leave on a case-by-case basis, and may introduce additional conditions for the exercise of this right

• a new minimum standard on flexible working arrangements: The right for parents to request these arrangements has been extended to include working carers.

The new EU directive on more transparent and predictable working conditions will bring, for instance:

• a right to take up a job in parallel with another employer

• a limit of probationary periods to a maximum of 6 months, with longer periods allowed only in case where this is in the interest of the worker or is justified by the nature of the work

• a right to request, after at least six months service with the same employer, employment with more predictable and secure working conditions

• a right to receive training cost-free, when such training is required by Union or national legislation.

The new EU regulation on a new European Labour Authority (ELA) will be tasked, most notably, with:

• improving the access to information for employees and employers on their rights and obligations in cases of cross-border mobility, free movement of services and social security coordination

• supporting coordination between member states in the cross-border enforcement of relevant Union law, including facilitating concerted and joint inspections

• supporting cooperation between member states in tackling undeclared work

• assisting member states authorities in resolving cross-border disputes

• supporting the coordination of social security systems, without prejudice to the competences of the Administrative Commission for the Coordination of Social Security Systems.

CESI appreciates in particular:

  • that an advisory Stakeholder Group under the new European Labour Authority will be open also to a number of sectoral social partners.
  • that a minimum of 2 out of 4 months of parental leave under the new work-life-balance directive will no longer be allowed to be transferred from fathers to mothers. This will be an effective inducement for fathers to take at least 2 months of parental leave and thus contribute to a more equal sharing of domestic responsibilities between men and women and contribute to more gender equality and a better re-employment for young women-mothers.
  • exemptions for public sector workers from the directive on more transparent and predictable working conditions were kept minimal, while no negative implications will effectuate for the particularities of national civil service systems.