EWL News

EWL calls for paternity leave as a precondition for more work-life balance for both women and men

[Brussels, 25 February 2011] On Tuesday 22 February, the EWL submitted its response to the European Commission’s Stakeholder Consultation on possible EU measures in the area of paternity leave. In its contribution, the EWL highlighted how EU measures in the area of paternity leave would be an important contribution to moving towards an equal share of care work between parents, to a more equal sharing of paid and unpaid work between women and men, and to the promotion of gender equality.

The EWL considers that while paternity leave legislation is only one of the measures needed to achieve an equal share of paid and unpaid work between women and men, such a legal entitlement is a precondition to any other policy action towards this goal. EU legislation on paternity leave would set minimum standards across Europe, while nowadays Member States still have very different provisions, and not all of them provide an entitlement to paternity leave. We consider that the European Union must take a lead in developing a culture where both men and women are equally considered as carers and as actors in the paid economy, and that consistent legislation and policy measures are necessary to achieve this.

In its response to the consultation, the EWL also been underlined that all forms of families have to be protected, including same-sex couples, adoptive parents and single mothers.

The EWL has been calling for paternity leave to be introduced into EU legislation as part of a broader work-life balance framework. In particular, paternity leave should ensure

  • a mandatory fully paid (100%) leave of at least 18 working days for the life partner of the mother/fathers;
  • strong protection of men against discrimination in employment based on their taking the leave;
  • these rights should apply also to same-sex partners and regardless of marital status.

The EWL also considers that the situation of single mothers should be taken into account to ensure that their needs after childbirth are duly considered.

The EWL contribution is available to download in PDF format here:

final ewl response ec consultation paternity leave february 2011

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