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Parental leave and leave for family reasons

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The Directive makes the framework agreement on parental leave concluded between the general cross-industry organisations compulsory. It also asks the Member States to lay down penalties for infringements of national measures taken in implementation of the Directive.

ACT

Council Directive 96/34/EC of 3 June 1996 on the framework agreement on parental leave concluded by UNICE, CEEP and the ETUC [Amending acts].

SUMMARY

The framework agreement on parental leave concluded on 14 December 1995 between the general cross-industry organisations (UNICE, CEEP and the ETUC), annexed to the Directive, is made compulsory.

Content of the framework agreement

The framework agreement provides for:

  • male and female workers to have individual entitlement to parental leave on the grounds of the birth or adoption of a child, enabling them to take care of the child for at least three months;
  • the conditions of access to, and procedures for applying, parental leave to be defined by law and/or collective agreement in the Member States, subject to compliance with the minimum requirements of the agreement;
  • the Member States and/or social partners to take the necessary measures to protect workers against dismissal on the grounds of an application for, or the taking of, parental leave;
  • workers to have the right to return to the same job at the end of parental leave or, if that is not possible, to an equivalent or similar job consistent with their employment contract or relationship;
  • the maintenance of rights acquired or in the process of being acquired by the worker on the date on which parental leave starts; at the end of the period of leave, those rights will apply;
  • the Member States and/or the social partners to take the necessary measures to allow workers to take time off from work, in accordance with national legislation, collective agreements and/or practice, for unforeseeable reasons arising from a family emergency in the event of sickness or accident making the immediate presence of the worker indispensable.

More favourable provisions

The Member States may introduce more favourable provisions than those laid down in the Directive.

Implementation of the provisions of the Directive will not in any way constitute sufficient grounds to justify a reduction in the general level of protection afforded to workers in the field covered.

Sanctions

The Member States are to determine the range of penalties applicable for infringements of national provisions pursuant to the Directive, and are to take all the necessary steps to ensure their implementation. The penalties applied must be effective and commensurate with the infringement, and must constitute a sufficient deterrent.

Context

The objective of the Directive is to introduce minimum requirements on parental leave and time off from work on grounds of force majeure. It aims to reconcile occupational and family obligations and to promote equal opportunities and equal treatment for men and women.

This Directive shall be repealed on 8 March 2012. It shall be replaced by Directive 2010/18/EU on the application of the revised framework agreement on parental leave concluded by BUSINESSEUROPE, UEAPME, CEEP and ETUC.

REFERENCES

ActEntry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal

Directive 96/34/EC

3.6.1998

3.6.1998

L 145 of 19.6.1996

Amending actsEntry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal

Directive 97/75/EC

15.12.1999

15.12.1999

L 10 du 16.1.1998

RELATED ACTS

Report from the Commission on the implementation of Council Directive 96/34/EC of 3 June 1996 on the framework agreement on parental leave concluded by UNICE, CEEP and the ETUC [COM(2003) 358 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
The Commission describes the situation as regards transposition of Directive 96/34/EC in the Member States, based on information provided by the Member States in accordance with the Directive. The report takes stock of how the Directive has been implemented from the point of view of scope, age of children, length of parental leave and how it is taken, individuality and transferability between the parents, conditions and formalities, restrictions applicable to small firms, protection from dismissal and right to return, employment rights and status of workers on parental leave, and time off on grounds of force majeure.

Last updated: 27.04.2010
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