Family and work: the situation of the European Union.

On April 9th the Commission has issued, after 5 years of work with stakeholders and associations, a new directive regarding the family-work reconciliation.

The European Commission defines as a “new beginning” the new European directive on family-work reconciliation. A new beginning because, after a long bottom-up work and after more than 4 years of work, a documents has been created that tries to give homogeneity to the reconciliation policies of the member states and focuses on the topic of family care, seen as a specific and irreplaceable place.

The starting point of the documents is the promotion of equal opportunities and the analysis of the divergences that, even today, keep affecting the labour world and the women's participation in the “productive life”. This is a gap that, according to the Commission, costs around 370 million of euro every year.

The strategy proposed is a win-win strategy in which all the actors are called to give their contribution and to obtain advantages: citizens, companies, member states.

The fields of intervention of the directive are four. First of all, the parental/paternity leave: a minimum of 10 days is established, in correspondence with the birth of the child, paid as sickness benefit. The parental leave is also modified: of the 4 months granted to every parent, 2 must be necessarily used by the parent who “holds” them and they can't be transferred. Nevertheless, the leave becomes flexible and it can be used as a full-time leave, a part-time leave, o during well-defined periods. 5 days of paid leave per year are granted for those who have a family member who needs care. Lastly, the right of the worker who has a child from 0 to 8 years to request for working-flexibility: part-time, flexible working-hours, home working.

A directive that, once again, considers the strategy of family-work reconciliation as a strategy to build a social market, meaning a market that ensures pensions, income and access to the rights through the participation in the market of labour. And that doesn't consider the interesting analysis contained in the White Paper Home & Family Employment and Home Care in the EU published by EFFE – European Federation for Family Employment and Home Care. Many proposals emerge from this White Paper, from the recognition of the domestic-care work to the development of collaborative technological platforms for the care of weak persons inside the families.

The debate on familiar care, one of the great challenges in a Europe that every day is older and poorer, is still opened. Read more HERE