Commission consults over work-life balance

(24 February 2016) Trade unions and employers met with Commission representatives in Brussels yesterday to discuss EU policy and legislation on work-life balance. EPSU was part of the delegation from the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) that made clear its support for negotiations or legislation to strengthen work-life balance measures at European level.

The meeting follows the two consultations launched by the Commission at the end of last year. These raised a number of issues about existing and potential EU policy and legislation on maternity, paternity and parental leave as well as carers' leave and flexible working.

The employers, represented by Businesseurope (larger employers), the UEAPME (small and medium enterprises) and CEEP (public sector), were not in favour of any changes to the legislative framework nor negotiations with trade unions on the issue. Their preferred approach was to delay any initiative until the social partners had organised a fact-finding seminar as agreed in their current work programme.

The ETUC said that it was happy to work with the employers on a seminar to discuss work-life balance, but said that this should not be used as a reason to delay any initiative coming from the Commission.

The Commission said that proposals for action on both policy and legislation could be expected soon to allow enough time for a second-stage consultation and implementation before the end of the year.

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