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Waterford parents a step closer to more leave and flexible working arrangements

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Waterford parents a step closer to more leave and flexible working arrangements

Securing a better work-life balance for working parents has moved a step forward.

MEPs have voted in favour on the agreement reached by the European Council and the European Parliament on the Work-life Balance Directive.

Ireland South MEP Deirdre Clune says this is a "great step" towards a better work-life balance for all working parents and towards improving the lives of families across all EU member states. "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. This will go a long way to supporting families in Waterford."

If approved, there will be 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 four months but with two 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 eight-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 workplace can be an exciting and exhilarating place. However it can also be a challenging place. What many people will struggle with is getting their work/life balance right. We are doing a lot of work at the European Parliament on the promotion of a good work/life balance and I am delighted to see there are now further developments in this area which can help those in the workforce who need it."

This will now be referred back to the Commission and they will set a date for it to come into law.