S&Ds set out a progressive agenda to improve work-life balance across Europe

work life balance

The Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament today in Strasbourg won a cross-party majority for a progressive roadmap to strengthen work-life balance for millions of workers in the EU.

S&D Euro MP Vilija Blinkevičiūtė who has negotiated the resolution for the S&D Group stated:

"Today’s vote is a big victory for the socialist and democrat family. With the support of a large majority, the Parliament is sending a clear message to the European Commission. We want to modernise the existing legislation by revising the maternity leave directive and improving parental leave. Additionally, we need to bring forward proposals for new EU directives on carers' leave and paternity leave with at least two weeks fully paid leave for fathers.

"We need all these new developments in order to increase the participation of women in the labour market and improve work-life balance. Women are still under represented in the labour market. They often work under precarious conditions and are forced to accept part-time jobs and low pay, because of their family care obligations.

"There is no time to waste. Fathers should be more involved in sharing family responsibilities in order to improve gender equality. The EU faces unprecedented demographic challenges and our society is changing.

"We are also pleased that the European Parliament has backed again with a comfortable majority the establishment of the Child Guarantee to lift children out of poverty, one of our key demands. There are still today in Europe 20 million children who do not have a warm meal every day. This must change."

S&D Group spokesperson on women’s rights and gender equality, Marie Arena added:

"Today, women are facing many forms of discrimination. We believe that men and women must be equal workers, equal earners and equal carers.

"Everyone, man or woman, must be supported at different times throughout their life and be able actively to participate in the labour market with the protection of their social rights. This means in particular giving the opportunity for both mothers and fathers to spend quality time with their new-born with an adequate revenue and social protection. We also believe that any woman or man should be able to care for dependants with a revenue and the right to return to work.

"It is unacceptable that 3.3 million Europeans aged between 15 and 34 have had to give up a full-time job because there are no care facilities for dependent children or older relatives."

S&D Group spokeswoman for employment and social affairs, Jutta Steinruck stressed:

"For the socialists and democrats, work-life balance is a fundamental right. We want maternity leave, parental and paternity leave and carer leave to be integrated into a social pillar.

"If we want to ensure a better work-life balance, member states must invest in social services and workforce training. It is shameful that 27 % of Europeans cannot access childcare services due to the poor quality of these services."