Parental leave will be increased from three to four months and will apply to all employees regardless of the type of contract, according to an agreement signed yesterday (18 June) by social partners in presence of Vladimír Špidla, EU commissioner for employment, social affairs and equal opportunities.
The new Framework Agreement on family leave was signed yesterday (18 June) by the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), BusinessEurope, the European Centre of Employers and Enterprises providing Public Services (CEEP) and the European Association of Craft, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (UEAPME).
It is the first time that European social partners have agreed to revise a pre-existing Framework Agreement. The new agreement increases parental leave from three to four months for each parent. Moreover, one of the four months shall be non-transferrable between the parents “to encourage a more equal take-up of leave by both parents,” says the text.
According to the agreement, parental leave should apply to “all workers, men and women, who have an employment contract or employment relationship as defined by the law,” regardless of their type of contract (fixed-term, part-time, temporary work, etc.).
“At the end of parental leave, workers shall have the right to return to the same job or, if that is not possible, to an equivalent or similar job consistent with their employment contract or employment relationship,” reads the text. Moreover, parents returning to work have the opportunity to request a change to their working conditions (working hours, for example).
Finally, the new agreement increases protection not just against dismissal but also against unfavourable treatment as a result of exercising the right to parental leave.
Parents who have adopted a child are also eligible to benefit from parental leave under the new rules.
Parents on leave will continue receiving a salary according to their national social security system, social partners said.
The European Commission must now examine the agreement. Before the summer, it will submit a proposal to the Council for implementation. The directive must be adopted by a qualified majority in the Council.