“We have taken the first step towards a better balance between work and private life for all working parents and their families. Gender equality is a priority for the EPP Group, that is why we welcome this important step for women across Europe, who should enjoy equal opportunities in the labour market and should not have to choose between their careers or their family life,” said MEP Agnieszka Kozłowska-Rajewicz, after yesterday's late-night vote on the Directive on work-life balance for parents and carers.

Kozłowska-Rajewicz is the lead negotiator in the Women's Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM) Committee on the directive, which aims to combat discrimination against women in the labour market through better sharing of carer responsibilities between men and women.

“Our main objective is to allow women to go back to the labour market more quickly and more efficiently after having a child. By setting paid parental leave of 4 months for both parents and making it non-transferable from one to the other, we give both mothers and fathers the opportunity to have equal rights to take care of their children and to pursue their professional careers.”

The directive also proposes to introduce paid paternity leave of a minimum of 10 days in every Member State in the EU and 5 days of leave for carers who need to look after ill or dependent relatives, such as elderly parents.

The report voted yesterday will provide input to the Employment and Social Affairs (EMPL) Committee for their final vote in July.

David Casa, responsible in the European Parliament for the file overall, welcomed the FEMM input: “Women are often put aside because they tend to be the ones taking maternity and parental leave when welcoming a child. So gender pay and pension gaps do not decrease. This directive is a crucial step to help narrow these gaps.”

NOTE TO EDITORS

The EPP Group is the largest political group in the European Parliament with 219 Members from 28 Member States

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