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Following tomorrow’s (Thursday 13 June) adoption of the Work-Life Balance Directive by the EU Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO), the ETUC calls on Member States to take urgent action to transpose into law and implement these new rights for working families.

“This is the first legislative advance to come out of the European Pillar of Social Rights, and it is crucial to demonstrate to EU citizens that it will mean real improvements in their lives,” said ETUC Deputy General Secretary Esther Lynch.

“We will be supporting national affiliates in pushing forward and monitoring the transposition process. Social partners – and especially trade unions – must be consulted and involved throughout. We call on the EU actively to encourage social dialogue and collective agreements that will build on the measures contained in the Directive, and to promote an exchange of good practice in work-life balance arrangements.”

The ETUC has highlighted two key elements of the legislation: parental and carers’ leave must be paid, to avoid it remaining an option only for the well-off. And enhanced paternity leave must create a shared responsibility for childcare and enable women to play a full role in the workplace.

“In transposing the Directive, national governments must recognise the diversity of family life in the 21st century and respond to changing labour market realities,” said Esther Lynch. “Member States must also take urgent action to provide affordable childcare, because otherwise parents cannot afford to return to work – especially those with children under four years.”

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