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Work-life balance of working parents and caregivers

The EESC thinks the "work-life balance" package is a step in the right direction, to be further analysed and be improved in the future. Social partners throughout Europe should be encouraged to examine additional practical solutions to promote a work-life balance that suits the specificities of workplaces, particularly in SMEs. Moreover, there is need for investment in high-quality, affordable and available care services and facilities for all families, as well as for tax deductions that help working parents to continue working.


Key points

The EESC:

  • Welcomes the initiative of the European Commission to increase the labour market participation of parents with children, particularly women, by helping them to achieve a better work-life balance, thereby unlocking their full skills potential;
  • is of the opinion that the work-life balance package is a step in the right direction, but also that it should be improved in the future, based on appropriate impact assessments;
  • also considers that the package's proposals should be further analysed, taking into account the actual situation in each Member State as well as the costs and organisational efforts for enterprises and, in particular, SMEs. Moreover, the following measures should also be taken: tackle stereotypes, disseminate good practices and create national action plans on work-life balance;
  • encourages the social partners throughout Europe to examine additional practical solutions to promote a work-life balance that suits the specificities of their particular workplace;
  • is confident that the long-term benefits will outweigh the short-term increased costs. However, measures to support small and medium-sized enterprises should be further explored;
  • stresses the need for more investment in high-quality, affordable and available care services and facilities for every family, and calls on the Commission to use the country specific recommendations (CSRs) in the framework of the European Semester, as well as the regional development funds, to encourage the Member States to increase their efforts;
  • finally, regrets that this proposal for a directive does not deal enough with tax systems to support work-life balance. Tax deductions that help working parents to continue working should be considered.