|Vol.7, No.40, 1.11.01, p8
THE European Ombudsman has launched an investigation into the "unacceptable" lack of parental leave given to EU officials.
The watchdog has a blunt message for the institutions: "Practice what you preach." In particular, Jacob Söderman is demanding that the institutions offer their own workers the same paternity rights enjoyed by fathers in EU member states.
According to staff regulations, male members of the Union's staff are allowed only two days off to take care of a newborn child - compared with a maximum of up to three months in member states. And Union employees who adopt a child may be granted two weeks leave compared with three months for other European citizens who adopt.
Söderman has accused the institutions of applying one set of rules to member states and another to themselves. He said: "I want to ensure that EU officials enjoy the same right to parental leave as is guaranteed in the member states. The EU institutions' own internal rules should be adapted to ensure equality and to protect the rights of men, women and children."
The European Commission promised to address these shortcomings last October, but nothing has been done - a state of affairs described by Söderman as "unacceptable." Söderman also points to Article 33 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights, agreed at last year's EU summit in Nice, which declares "everyone shall have the right to parental leave following the birth or adoption of a child."
He said: "It is now almost one year since the Nice Charter was proclaimed and all EU citizens should be enjoying the rights that it guarantees.
The European Ombudsman has launched an investigation into the 'unacceptable' lack of parental leave given to EU officials.
|Politics and International Relations