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On 21 June 2018, the Council agreed its negotiating position (general approach) on the directive on work-life balance for parents and carers. On the basis of this mandate, the Council Presidency will start negotiations with the European Parliament once the latter has adopted its position.
Men and women throughout Europe should be able to fulfil their full potential, both at work and in their family lives. With this directive, the EU will make it easier for men and women to share the joys and burdens of parenting or caring for relatives while continuing to pursue a career.
The aim of this proposal is to improve access to work-life balance arrangements, such as leave and flexible working arrangements for parents and carers. It should boost the take-up of family-related leave by men, which will help increase female labour market participation.
The directive would introduce new minimum standards on paternity leave, with fathers or second parents being able to take at least 10 working days of leave around the time of the birth of the child, paid at a level defined by the member state concerned.
It would also update the minimum standard on parental leave, keeping the existing individual right of 4 months but with 2 non-transferable months, with at least 1.5 months to be paid at a level set by the member state concerned.
The directive would introduce an individual right to carers' leave, previously not recognised at EU level.
It would also extend the right to request flexible working arrangements for parents, until the child is at least 8 years old, as well as for carers. Parents and carers could ask, for example, for flexible working hours or working patterns and for the right to work remotely.
The Commission submitted its proposal on 26 April 2017. It replaces the proposed maternity leave directive, which was withdrawn.