Following the withdrawal of the Maternity Leave Directive, the Commission decided to take a broader approach in addressing women’s underrepresentation in the labour market. The aim of this initiative is to link it with one of the deliverables of the European Pillar of Social Rights: the Work-life Balance Initiative. This addresses the work-life balance challenges faced by working parents and carers. 

According to the Commission, the Communication: An initiative to support work-life balance for working parents and carers sets out a comprehensive package of complementary legal and policy measures, which are mutually reinforcing. 

The Commission has also made to sure to modernise the existing EU legal framework in the area of family-related leaves and flexible working arrangements, such as with the proposal for a Directive on work-life balance for parents and carers. 

Furthermore, in order to complement the legislative proposal, the initiative contains a set of non-legislative measures to support Member States in achieving our common goals. These include: 

  • ensuring protection against discrimination and dismissal for parents (including pregnant women and workers coming back from a leave) and carers, 
  • encouraging a gender-balanced use of family-related leaves and flexible working arrangements, 
  • making better use of European funds to improve long-term and childcare services, 
  • removing economic disincentives for second earners which prevent women from accessing the labour market or working full-time. 

Source: European Commission, Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion