Women's day: the ETUC calls on the EU to put forward concrete proposals to achieve work-life balance for workers

Brussels, 08/03/2007

The ETUC position on the first stage of the social partners' consultation on the reconciliation of professional, private and family life calls for a number of measures to be put in place at EU level. In particular, the ETUC asks European leaders to:

- take up measures to recognise the right to paid parental leave;

- improve the maternity protection directive;

- step up actions to enhance the availability, quality, accessibility, affordability of care services, especially child care and care for the elderly;

- put gender equality and work-life balance at the heart of the debate on demographic change;

- mainstream work-life balance in working time regulations, policies and arrangements;

- campaign to encourage men to share household duties.

In this 'European Year of Equal Opportunities for All', the ETUC stresses the importance of ensuring female workers can take full advantage of maternity provisions, without suffering discrimination in the labour market, and with a guaranteed right to return to their job or to an equivalent one at the end of their period of maternity leave. For all these reasons, the ETUC fully supports the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) campaign on maternity protection.

The ETUC also deplores the persistent gender pay gap of up to 25% in some Member States. The ETUC believes that after 50 years of recognition of the right of equal pay for men and women in the Treaty of Rome, this inequality is unacceptable. This problem should be tackled more seriously at EU level.

- ETUC's Position on the First stage consultation of the Social Partners at Community level on the Reconciliation of Professional, Private and Family Life

- ITUC Campaign on Maternity Protection