The GPA-djp and PRO-GE energy unions have negotiated a new collective agreement covering around 20000 workers in the private energy sector. The 3% pay rise also covers apprentices and shift allowances while other allowances increase by 2.5%. The agreement includes several other provisions such as protection of special payments and holiday entitlement during paternity leave. The trade unions will also work with the employers to look at women's employment and representation in the sector. There will be working groups on other issues, including working time, and agreement to carry out audits of diversity issues.
Energy unions secure 3% pay rise and other improvements
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The collective agreement covering workers providing disability care has new elements to improve work-life balance. There is an annual hours system based on a 36-hour week for a full-time worker. This alllows for flexibility to help address peaks and troughs in the service but on the basis that employers have to abide by clear rules in both the collective agreement and legislation. Workers in the sector can also now look to the collective agreement to assert their right not to be contactable during their time off. The FNV trade union sees this as an essential measure to tackle increasing stress
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.
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.