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Work-Life Balance Directive

On 4 April 2019, in the European Parliament a majority of 490 members voted in favour of the final version of the Work-Life Balance Directive (WLB), which addresses the challenges that autistic people, their families and carers face in reconciling work and family responsibilities, as well as strengtheningens existing employment rights.

Almost two years before, on 26 April 2017, the European Commission published its proposal for a WLB Directive. The European Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee, the Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Committee, and the Employment and Social Affairs Committee all voted in favour of it in June 2018. After the European Parliament passed the WLB Directive proposal, Autism-Europe joined a broad coalition, led by COFACE Families Europe, supporting an Open Letter to the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO) to urge the European ministers to enter into the negotiation process with the European Parliament on the Directive.

On 24 January 2018, after five months of negotiation, the European Parliament and the Council reached a provisional agreement on the European Commission’s proposal for a new Directive on WLB for parents and carers. The directive spells out a European minimum on paternity (at least ten days), parental (at least four months) and carers’ leave (five days) and provides for flexible working arrangement for parents and carers. This directive is a key deliverable of the European Pillar of Social Rights. Now, after the vote in the Parliament, the Council has to adopt the final version.

An assessment of the WLB Directive by COFACE Families Europe can be found here.