Proposal for a Directive on work-life balance for parents and carers

Author (Corporate)
Series Details COM (2017) 253
Publication Date 26/04/2017
Content Type


Legislative proposal published by the European Commission in April 2017 on work-life balance, including the enhancement of existing parental leave schemes.

Further information:

Following the withdrawal of a proposal to amend the 1992 Maternity Leave Directive, the Commission committed to replacing that proposal with a 'new start initiative' (work-life balance package). The general objective of the proposed Directive is to ensure the implementation of the principle of equality between men and women with regard to labour market opportunities and treatment at work. Through adapting and modernising the EU legal framework, the Directive should allow parents and people with caring responsibilities to reconcile better their work and caring duties. This proposal was released alongside a Communication setting out a set of legislative and non-legislative initiatives to encourage a healthy work-life balance. Both documents were published in the framework of the European Pillar of Social Rights, which was launched on the same day.

The Commission published the draft law on 26 April 2017. The Council of the European Union adopted its general approach regarding this proposal on 21 June 2018. The European Parliament's relevant committee approved the negotiating position and mandate on 11 July. An informal agreement between the co-legislators on a compromise text was reached on 24 January 2019. The Parliament formally endorsed it on 4 April, followed by the Council on 13 June.

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Commentary and Analysis
EPRS: Briefing, September 2017: Initial Appraisal of a European Commission Impact Assessment
EPRS: Briefing, April 2019: A new directive on work-life balance

Politico, 26/04/2017: Brussels pushes for work-life balance
EurActiv, 18/06/2018: MEPs and NGOs urge ministers to reach deal on Work-Life Balance directive
EurActiv, 28/01/2019: Ten-day minimum paternity leave to be rolled out across EU

EUR-Lex: SWD(2017)202 - Impact Assessment accompanying the document
EUR-Lex: SWD(2017)203 - Executive Summary of the Impact Assessment
European Parliament: Legislative Observatory: Procedure File for proposal on work-life balance of parents and carers
EP: Legislative Train: New Start for Working Parents
EU Eurofound: Work-life balance
General Secretariat of the Council: Work-life balance for parents and carers
Council of the European Union: Press Release, 21/06/2018: Leave and flexible work for parents and carers: Council agrees general approach on the draft directive on work-life balance
European Commission: Statement, 21/06/2018: Commission welcomes agreement between EU Member States on key files for a more social Europe
European Parliament: Press Release, 11/07/2018: MEPs back measures to reconcile career and private life
European Parliament: Press Release, 24/01/2019: Parliament and Council agree on measures to reconcile career and private life
Council of the European Union: Press Release, 24/01/2019: Better work-life balance for EU citizens: Presidency reaches provisional agreement with the European Parliament
European Commission: Work-Life Balance: Commission welcomes the provisional agreement reached on 24 January 2019
Council of the European Union: Press Release, 13/06/2019: Better work-life balance for parents and carers in the EU: Council adopts new rules

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