For Immediate Release

EU Directive on the Work-Life Balance for Parents and Carers

The European Institute of Women’s Health (EIWH) celebrates the adoption of the Proposal for the EU Directive on the Work-Life Balance for Parents and Carers and calls on Member States to enact, enforce and monitor the provisions in this critical regulation.

6th of September 2019— After the Withdrawal of the Maternity Leave Directive and in support of the European Pillar of Social Rights, the European Commission endeavoured to help Europeans better balance work and family lives and improve caring responsibilities between women and men through a new proposed Directive. The European Institute of Women’s Health (EIWH) applauds the EU for the adoption of the proposal for the EU Directive on the Work-Life Balance for Parents and Carers, which was adopted by the Council on the 13th of June 2019.

The EIWH celebrates this proposal as a critical step to start to address women’s under representation in the labour market as well as to support women as patients and in their vital caregiving and domestic duties. Women are in the main the caregivers for children, older parents and family members and perform most domestic household chores. Women find themselves under societal and cultural pressures to fulfil the role of the care giver. In the EU, 80% of care is provided informally and, 75% of informal carers are women. These, mostly unpaid duties, are often performed at the expense of their own health. Women who provide informal care personally experience high levels of physical and psychological distress. The Issues surrounding health, employment and caregiving must be urgently and systematically addressed to support those combatting chronic health conditions and for the caregivers

The Proposal strengthens parental leave provisions; introduces paternity leave; allows for flexible leave requests; provides working carers with leave; and extends rights to request flexible working arrangements for parents and carers. Member States will have three years to adopt laws, regulations and administrative provisions that are needed to comply with the Work-Life Balance Directive Proposal. The EIWH warmly welcomes this policy and calls on Member States to enact, enforce and monitor the provisions in this critical regulation as soon as possible.

The EIWH prioritised Work Life Balance in its EU Manifesto for Women’s Health. The topic will be included as a priority for its agenda moving forward, including in its European Institute of Women’s Health Informational Day, which will be held in European Parliament on the 6th of November 2019.

Women have and will continue to be society’s carers, but women must also care for themselves. Together, women must step up and demand equity—equity in research, access to treatment and decision-making to better meet both women and men’s health needs.

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The EIWH’s EU Manifesto for Women’s Health and supporting documents are available online: All in Europe are invited to sign the Manifesto and call on their representatives to reduce health inequities. To sign the Manifesto, please email

Please visit our website ( and follow us on Twitter (@EIWH) for more updates on the Manifesto and our campaign Healthy Women—Healthy Europe. Only through concerted action together can we reduce inequities and improve women’s health across Europe.

About the European Institute of Women’s Health (EIWH)

Founded in 1996, the European Institute of Women’s Health (EIWH) is a non-governmental organisation (NGO) that uses an evidence-based to advocate for an equitable, sex- and gender-sensitive approach in health policy, research, promotion, treatment and care. The Institute promotes biomedical and socio-economic research that addresses sex and gender-based differences to ensure access to quality treatment and care for women across their lifespan. The EIWH strives to reduce inequities by drawing policymaker’s attention to the obstacles that women in minority, migrant, refugee and socio-economic disadvantaged groups face. The Institute’s activities work to empower individuals to play an active part in their own health management.

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