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Council adopts recommendations on reconciliation of work and family life

[Brussels, 09 December 2011] On 01 December, Employment and Social Affairs ministers adopted yet another set of recommendations on reconciliation of work and family life. Will these recommendations finally lead to concrete action and progress toward greater gender equality?

The Council Conclusions on ’Reconciliation of work and family life as a precondition for equal participation in the labour market’ call on the EU Member States to:

  • step up measures to achieve the Barcelona childcare targets
  • encourage men to share family and domestic responsibilities equally with women
  • speed up progress in providing quality formal care for dependents
  • encourage employers to adopt family friendly measures
  • take gender equality aspects into account in the planning of parental leave provisions
  • combat gender stereotypes related to work and family life.

The Council invites both the Member States and the Commission to ensure that EU funding, in particular the Structural Funds, will be used for these purposes.

EU Member States have been discussing reconciliation of work and family life intensively in the last 12 months, as the issue has been among the priorities of both the Hungarian and the Polish EU Presidencies. In June 2011, the Council adopted Conclusions addressing reconciliation in the context of demographic change.

The EWL expects the Member States and the Commission take the Council Conclusions seriosly and make clear progress in the coming year. Reconciliation policies that have greater gender equality as their outcome require action, not only words. Moving forward with the adoptation of the renewed maternity leave directive would be the first step toward thsi goal.

Read the Conclusions here.

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