Work-life balance for working parents and carers - a BusinessEurope position paper
- The EU needs more and efficient childcare facilities with extended opening hours, as well as facilities for older people. This is where European and national policy efforts should concentrate to allow men and women to better reconcile work and family life. Public-private partnership should also be fostered in this area.
- BusinessEurope fully supports the goal to increase women’s employment participation. However, the European Commission’s legislative proposal on work-life balance will have a main impact to encourage more parents and carers, men and women, to not work. This is an outdated and one-sided vision of reconciliation, which does not fit with today’s reality of the workplace. It will also have far-reaching costs for employers, which the Commission’s impact assessment underestimates while anticipating unrealistic returns.
- Putting forward a catalogue of leaves at EU level, whereas Europe is already at the forefront in this field globally, jeopardises the current functioning of leave arrangements in the Member States, and creates the risk of making leaves counterproductive for the economy. Subsidiarity and proportionality principles must be respected. In addition, by proposing to repeal the current parental leave directive, the Commission has chosen an approach that is ignoring the autonomy of the social dialogue.
- The European Commission clearly misses the point that, in fact, companies’ competitiveness is the main variable leading them to create more jobs. Flexible working arrangements agreed at company level can play a key role to respond at the same time to companies’ changing needs reflecting production cycles and to workers’ preferences.
- Europe’s changing demographics can be detrimental to long-term economic growth potential in the EU if levels of fertility remain lower than the number of children that men and women actually desire.
What does BusinessEurope aim for?
- BusinessEurope aims for a change of policy focus at EU level from leaves to investments and coordinated national policies aiming to improve the availability and functioning of care infrastructures.
- Families being able to choose for themselves how best to reconcile work and family life duties in a way that does not hinder parents’ and carers’ participation in work.
- Supporting progress in cultural roles of men and women in terms of the sharing of family responsibilities, in accordance with their values and wishes