With the resolution of 13 September 2016, regarding the creation of favourable labour market conditions that would be beneficial for the equilibrium between the private and professional lives of workers, the European Parliament highlighted the important role of work-life balance for the European Union.
The most important part of the resolution is found in the General principles wherein, in point 2, it is underlined how the reconciliation of professional, private and family life must be ensured as a fundamental right of everyone, in the spirit of the European Union’s Charter, with measures available to every individual.
The European Parliament proceeds by asking that such a right be a fundamental objective of the social systems, inviting both the EU and the single Member States to promote Corporate Welfare (both in the public and private sectors) that can concretely implement the life- work balance.
In order to draft a clear and ambitious normative framework on leave of absence for family reasons, that may orient the single Member States to establish clear regulations to protect the right to reconcile family life and work, the Parliament expressly asked the European Commission to: “present an ambitious proposal supported by high level norms, in strict cooperation with the social parties and consultation with civil society, that can warranty different methods of taking leave according to the various phases of life, and an economic support that allows also low salary workers to benefit from the measure regarding the taking of leave under equal conditions as that of other workers.”
An express request was then made to the Commission (point 33) for the drafting of a directive that would provide obligatory paternity/maternity leaves of the minimum duration of two weeks with full pay.
With foresight and attentive vision, the Parliament then underlined (point 47) that, in the light of the differences in the personal and family situations of each worker, the employees should have the possibility to avail of flexible work schedules so as to adapt them to the specific phases of life, giving the possibility to workers, employers and employees to freely make the most suitable work arrangements.
Among such tools identified by the European Parliament for the implementation of greater reconciliation between work and family life is that of Flexible Working Time.
In the resolution, the European Parliament hopes that it will be diffused as a new work ogranisation procedure, and prods the single Member States to formulate regulations that will avoid the risk of additional charges for the workers, foreseeing the observance of the maximum limit of daily and weekly work hours provided by law, and the national collective employment contracts.
To conclude, we can affirm that we absolutely agree with the position of the European Parliament and hope that the European Commission works to approve a directive that could give effect to the aforesaid. Besides this very important norm, time will be needed to promote greater awareness and education on this theme and the cooperation of the companies and the Trade Unions in implementing these new tools, so as to reach the European Union’s ambitious goal: acknowledgement of and respect for the right to balance life and work.