Women are still underrepresented in the European labor market - even though they have 60% of the degrees! Raising children and taking care of people is still often the responsibility of women meaning that women leave their jobs or work part-time, leading to a whopping loss of 370 Billion Euros (!!) every year (according to the Commission). After Member States failed to get an agreement on the Maternity Leave Directive in 2015 the Commission decided to go a different route by hopping on the work-life-balance bandwagon.
Men and women still don't have the same opportunities in the labor market - we have come a long way since the 1950s but women are still more likely to stay at home with the kids or to take care of sick grandma than men, even though they have the same or better qualifications. There are a number of reasons for this, ranging from cultural, personal to policy, and it is the latter that the Commission wants to tackle with its proposal.
What does "paid" mean here? It means that the parent or carer needs to get at least the same money he or she would receive when they are sick (= sick pay).
Want some more info? No problem: Have a look at this page to watch a video about the proposal and to read the Commission's fact sheet. If you are curious about the current rules on maternity and paternity leave in the Member States, check out this European Parliament infographic.
The bill will probably be discussed in the Employment and Social Affairs Committee in the European Parliament. If the discussion on the failed Maternity Directive is any indication, expect a heated debate among Member States with strong lobbying from business organizations and social rights NGOs! We will keep you updated as always.
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