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LEGISLATIVE ACTS AND OTHER INSTRUMENTS

DIRECTIVE OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND THE COUNCIL on work-life balance for parents an carers

Article 3

Definitions

1. For the purposes of this Directive, the following definitions apply:

(a)‘paternity leave’ means leave from work for fathers or, where and insofar as recognised by national law, for equivalent second parents, on the occasion of the birth of a child for the purposes of providing care;

(b)‘parental leave’ means leave from work for parents on the grounds of the birth or adoption of a child to take care of that child;

(c)‘carers’ leave’ means leave from work for workers in order to provide personal care or support to a relative, or to a person who lives in the same household as the worker, and who is in need of significant care or support for a serious medical reason, as defined by each Member State;

(d)‘carer’ means a worker providing personal care or support to a relative, or to a person who lives in the same household as the worker, and who is in need of significant care or support for a serious medical reason, as defined by each Member State;

(e)‘relative’ means a worker’s son, daughter, mother, father, spouse or, where such partnerships are recognised by national law, partner in civil partnership;

(f)‘flexible working arrangements’ means the possibility for workers to adjust their working patterns, including through the use of remote working arrangements, flexible working schedules, or reduced working hours.

Article 4

Paternity leave

1. Member States shall take the necessary measures to ensure that fathers or, where and insofar as recognised by national law, equivalent second parents, have the right to paternity leave of 10 working days that is to be taken on the occasion of the birth of the worker’s child. Member States may determine whether to allow paternity leave to be taken partly before or only after the birth of the child and whether to allow such leave to be taken in flexible ways.

2. The right to paternity leave shall not be made subject to a period of work qualification or to a length of service qualification.

3. The right to paternity leave shall be granted irrespective of the worker’s marital or family status, as defined by national law.

Article 5

Parental leave

1. Member States shall take the necessary measures to ensure that each worker has an individual right to parental leave of four months that is to be taken before the child reaches a specified age, up to the age of eight, to be specified by each Member State or by collective agreement. That age shall be determined with a view to ensuring that each parent is able to exercise their right to parental leave effectively and on an equal basis.

2. Member States shall ensure that two months of parental leave cannot be transferred.

3. Member States shall establish a reasonable period of notice that is to be given by workers to employers where they exercise their right to parental leave. In doing so, Member States shall take into account the needs of both the employers and the workers.

Member States shall ensure that the worker’s request for parental leave specifies the intended beginning and end of the period of leave.

4. Member States may make the right to parental leave subject to a period of work qualification or to a length of service qualification, which shall not exceed one year. In the case of successive fixed-term contracts within the meaning of Council Directive 1999/70/EC (14) with the same employer, the sum of those contracts shall be taken into account for the purpose of calculating the qualifying period.

5. Member States may establish the circumstances in which an employer, following consultation in accordance with national law, collective agreements or practice, is allowed to postpone the granting of parental leave for a reasonable period of time on the grounds that the taking of parental leave at the time requested would seriously disrupt the good functioning of the employer. Employers shall provide reasons for such a postponement of parental leave in writing.

6. Member States shall take the necessary measures to ensure that workers have the right to request that they take parental leave in flexible ways. Member States may specify the modalities of application thereof. The employer shall consider and respond to such requests, taking into account the needs of both the employer and the worker. The employer shall provide reasons for any refusal to accede to such a request in writing within a reasonable period after the request.

7. Member States shall take the necessary measures to ensure that when considering requests for full-time parental leave, employers shall, prior to any postponement in accordance with paragraph 5, offer, to the extent possible, flexible ways of taking parental leave pursuant to paragraph 6.

8. Member States shall assess the need for the conditions of access to and the detailed arrangements for the application of parental leave to be adapted to the needs of adoptive parents, parents with a disability and parents with children with a disability or a long-term illness.

Article 6

Carers’ leave

1. Member States shall take the necessary measures to ensure that each worker has the right to carers’ leave of five working days per year. Member States may determine additional details regarding the scope and conditions of carers’ leave in accordance with national law or practice. The use of that right may be subject to appropriate substantiation, in accordance with national law or practice.

2. Member States may allocate carers’ leave on the basis of a reference period other than a year, per person in need of care or support, or per case.

Article 7

Time off from work on grounds of force majeure

Member States shall take the necessary measures to ensure that each worker has the right to time off from work on grounds of force majeure for urgent family reasons in the case of illness or accident making the immediate attendance of the worker indispensable. Member States may limit the right of each worker to time off from work on grounds of force majeure to a certain amount of time each year or by case, or both.

Article 8

Payment or allowance

1. In accordance with national circumstances, such as national law, collective agreements or practice, and taking into account the powers delegated to the social partners, Member States shall ensure that workers who exercise their right to leave provided for in Article 4(1) or Article 5(2) receive a payment or an allowance in accordance with paragraphs 2 and 3 of this Article.

2. With regard to paternity leave as referred to in Article 4(1), such payment or allowance shall guarantee an income at least equivalent to that which the worker concerned would receive in the event of a break in the worker’s activities on grounds connected with the worker’s state of health, subject to any ceiling laid down in national law. Member States may make the right to a payment or an allowance subject to periods of previous employment, which shall not exceed six months immediately prior to the expected date of the birth of the child.

3. With regard to parental leave as referred to in Article 5(2), such payment or allowance shall be defined by the Member State or the social partners and shall be set in such a way as to facilitate the take-up of parental leave by both parents.

Article 9

Flexible working arrangements

1. Member States shall take the necessary measures to ensure that workers with children up to a specified age, which shall be at least eight years, and carers, have the right to request flexible working arrangements for caring purposes. The duration of such flexible working arrangements may be subject to a reasonable limitation.

2. Employers shall consider and respond to requests for flexible working arrangements as referred to in paragraph 1 within a reasonable period of time, taking into account the needs of both the employer and the worker. Employers shall provide reasons for any refusal of such a request or for any postponement of such arrangements.

3. When flexible working arrangements as referred to in paragraph 1 are limited in duration, the worker shall have the right to return to the original working pattern at the end of the agreed period. The worker shall also have the right to request to return to the original working pattern before the end of the agreed period where justified on the basis of a change of circumstances. The employer shall consider and respond to a request for an early return to the original working pattern, taking into account the needs of both the employer and the worker.

4. Member States may make the right to request flexible working arrangements subject to a period of work qualification or to a length of service qualification, which shall not exceed six months. In the case of successive fixed-term contracts within the meaning of Directive 1999/70/EC with the same employer, the sum of those contracts shall be taken into account for the purpose of calculating the qualifying period.

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