Council must move ahead to secure the rights of parents and carers across the EU without further delay, say S&Ds

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Social Europe & Jobs
In an open letter, ahead of the Employment and Social Affairs Council meeting of 21 June, S&D Euro MPs are calling on EU ministers to unblock the negotiations on the Work-Life Balance Directive and adopt an ambitious and meaningful position to improve the lives of working parents and carers across the Europe.
 
S&D Group president, Udo Bullmann, stated:
 
“We are worried about what is happening with the Work-Life Balance Directive. After having tried to water down the Commission’s proposal, some member states are currently essaying to postpone reaching an agreement on it. The aim is clear: they want to deprive the initiative of any substance in order to later scrap it altogether under the Austrian presidency. We will not allow it!”
 
 “The Directive is the first concrete deliverable of the European Pillar of Social Rights, which was adopted by all EU member states and the EU Institutions in Gothenburg in November 2017. Cynically, some of the very same member states -under conservative leadership- that last year proclaimed the EU Social Pillar are now backing out on their promises to ensure that working parents and their families are able to balance their work and private lives.”
 
“Council must stop playing games with EU citizens’ lives. We call on national ministers to assume their responsibilities and deliver on their promises this Thursday. The lives of millions of working parents is at stake.”
 
“We Socialists and Democrats are committed to working hard to ensure that the rights and dignity of workers are protected across the EU. We will continue to fight for the well-being of all of our citizens against any backdrops.”
 
S&D negotiator on the Work-Life Balance Directive, Marie Arena MEP, said:
 
“The Directive is a huge step forward towards transforming the principles of the EU Social Pillar into reality. Taking into account the developments in the society, it aims to address the work-life balance challenges faced by millions of parents across the Union, who are struggling to juggle their work and life responsibilities. This initiative will improve their lives and help build a society that is fairer and more considerate to the needs of its citizens.”
 
“There is no time to lose. The meeting on Thursday should move forward to adopt an ambitious and meaningful approach. We don’t want a repeat of the maternity leave directive which was eventually blocked by the Council. The Council should also reach a general approach on the revision of the regulation on the coordination of social security systems, as well as on the proposal for the Directive on transparent and predictable working conditions.”
 
“We Socialists and Democrats are looking forward to start negotiations as soon as possible in order to finalise those two important files before the European elections of 2019.”
 
 
 
Note to editors
 
The Commission’s proposal for a Directive on Work-Life Balance for Parents and Carers includes inter alia: 
1. the introduction of paternity leave of at least 10 working days compensated at least at the level of sick pay;
 
2. the strengthening of parental leave to 4 months compensated at least at sick pay level and non-transferable from a parent to another up to 12th year of the child.
 
3. the introduction of carers' leave of 5 days per year for workers caring for seriously ill or dependent relatives, compensated at least at sick pay level;
 
4. and the extension of the right to request flexible working arrangements to all working parents and carers of children up to 12.
 
The S&D Group has set out a strong and progressive social agenda putting people and workers at the heart of Europe. We want to strengthen the social dimension of the economic and monetary union (EMU); combat unemployment – especially for young people, older workers and the long-term unemployed; build a better legal framework for workers to mover across borders in order to safeguard wages, social standards, collective bargaining and trade union rights; and create a European system of decent minimum wages to fight poverty.