Members of the FNV trade union at the Kwadrant care company have made some progress on their demands for action on jobs and overwork (see epsucob@NEWS no.15). In an initial meeting with management the workers have at least been given a commitment that travel time between clients will be fully paid working time. They will have to wait until 1 October to find out if the company will respond to their key demand not to cut jobs and to tackle the heavy workloads faced by many carers. The union has organised a petition among workers to highlight the problems they face.
Some progress for care workers
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The European Commission has produced a short overview of paternity and parental leave provisions across EU countries revealing that, for example, paternity leave is available in nearly all member states but the length and level of compensation vary considerably. The draft directive on work-life balance proposes two weeks' paternity leave paid at the level of sick pay. While 17 member states already have the two-week minimum only 13 offer it on the basis of at least 66% of previous earnings.
Research by the ETUC reveals that parents in seven EU member states will benefit from new rights as a result of the work-life balance directive that was adopted by the European Council in June. However, this will depend on national governments properly implementing the legislation over the next three years. Fathers in Italy, Croatia and Slovakia are set to receive paid paternity leave around the birth of a child for the first time ever while the directive should at least double the length of paid paternity leave in the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Portugal and Romania.