2017 Position on Work-Life Balance Initiative

The Commission launched its initiative to support work-life balance for working parents and carers. The initiative, besides non-legislative actions, includes a new Directive on work-life balance for parents and carers. Ceemet favours greater support, not legislation, for the progress already made by MET sector social partners.

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Ceemet key messages

  • Ceemet fully supports the general objectives of increasing the participation of women in the labour market, particularly in STEM disciplines, as well as of ensuring equality between men and women with regards to labour market opportunities and equal treatment at work.
  • Ceemet regrets that the Commission decided to take legislative action in the fields of leave and flexible working arrangements, despite European employers unanimously rejecting this course of action. Ceemet regrets in particular the unprecedented repeal of the directive implementing the social partner framework agreement on parental leave, thus undermining the role of social partners at EU level.
  • The EU needs to respect the principle of subsidiarity and the limitations to its competences in the field of social policy. The proposal goes beyond setting minimum requirements, with adequate EU minimum standards already in place. The unbalanced view on flexible working arrangements in the Commission’s proposal gives not only the impression that companies’ needs are not taken in account, but suggests that the disproportionate burden on companies the proposal would create is not understood.
  • Ceemet supports, with some reservations, a focus on non-legislative measures, especially those that support Member States in improving access to and the quality of childcare and elderly care facilities. It is the shortage of such facilities that hinders female labour market participation and contributes to labour market segmentation.

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