The European Union wants to move forward once and for all in the construction of the so-called social pillar to respond to the crisis suffered by citizens and, at the same time, to face the recipes proposed by the populist movements in the continent. And yesterday took a step to achieve unlock a directive that in three years will set a minimum in the field of reconciliation of work and family life to try to close the gender gap that exists in the labor market. The Community institutions – Commission, Council and Parliament – reached an agreement for all parents to have four months of parental leave, of which two must be non-transferable and remunerated. In addition, companies must give ten days to their employees on the dates when their children are born.
The new community directive It will seem like minimums for a Belgian citizen or a Swedish citizen, whose legislations fully comply with practically all the provisions in it. However, it will mean a leap forward for those who reside in the 11 countries that still do not give ten days at the time of the birth of the children, the 12 States that do not provide for non-transferable permits or the nine that do not charge during that period nothing. The complexity of taking the proposal forward also attests to the fact that it had been on the table for almost two years. Last November, a dozen social entities issued a statement expressing their concern over the blocking of negotiations on the text.
The directive, explained community sources, aims to close the gap that still exists in the labor market between men and women. According to data from the European Comission, the female employment rate is 11.5 points lower in the EU as a whole compared to the male one. But that gap is clearer when the data is shredded: 31.1% of women work part-time, compared to 8.2% of men. And 31% of those who are not in the labor market argue that the reason is the care of a relative.
"I want all women to be able to realize their potential and that all men can take responsibility for care. But we can only do it if we create true opportunities for equality so that it is possible to choose, "he said. the Commissioner of Labor and Social Affairs, Marianne Thyssen.
The text of the new directive – which must be endorsed by the Parliament and the Council – focuses on four points above all. First, the ten-day permit at the time of the birth of the children. This rule should be adapted from Greece, which only gives two days, to Germany, which has not provided any free time in its regulation.
The second big section is that of permits. The period of absence of four free months for the parents is consolidated, which was just the only aspect that European standards already contemplated. The European Union Now take one more step: of those four months, two will not be transferable from one parent to another and, in addition, they should be remunerated.
Situation in Spain
The question of whether the permit is paid focused part of the dispute between the countries, since many warned of the impact of their decision in their public coffers. The States accepted it in exchange for freedom to determine the amount of remuneration, although parliamentary sources explained that the agreement has a clause that establishes that this will be at least 65% of its net salary.
That measure would affect Spain today. The duration of paternity leave was extended from four to five weeks in 2018. If the General State Budgets went ahead, this year it would go to eight, since this is how the accounts collect it, 12 in 2020 and 16 in 2021 But the measure will also benefit the citizens of countries where those two months were transferable, such as Austria, Finland, Denmark, Hungary or Slovakia.
The directive, for whose transposition there will be a term of three years, also contemplates that all parents with children up to eight years of age or dependent family members have the right to request a reduction in working hours, a schedule compatible with the care of family members or flexibility in the workplace. And in that they will benefit the citizens of almost all countries, since only Luxembourg, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom picked it up in their standards.
The European association of families Coface regretted that for some countries it will not be a great advance, but for others. "This directive is a step in the right direction. We hope that national governments will consolidate these rights and move towards a rapid transposition, "said President Annemie Drieskens.