Casa proposes EU directive that gives parents and carers more rights

Maltese parents and carers will benefit if a new directive on parental leave is approved at the EU level.

MEP David Casa has lead the fifth round of negotiations between EU institutions on a new directive aimed at increasing the rights of parents and carers.

The directive’s legislation proposes a raft of new rights to parents and carers. New allowing them to secure flexible working with their employers to care for children and sick relatives, paid leave for parents in their children’s formative years as well as a minimum of 10 days for fathers during the time of birth. Employee’s rights will be safeguarded as part of this proposal.

It is hoped that the new provisions will help with better dividing the care responsibilities between the genders and ensuring that issues surrounding gender pay and employment gaps are decreased.

Casa does recognise that the directive has to take into account the interests of business too saying, ‘It is crucial that business is not stifled by the provisions of this directive. I am therefore working to ensure that the resulting directive is balanced and that the appropriate safeguards are in place’.

Speaking yesterday, Casa said he was ‘cautiously optimistic’ about the directive, pointing out that, ‘If negotiations are successful, Malta is one of the member states that will see the greatest increase in rights for parents and carers. Carers’ leave will be a completely new right. Parental leave exists but is currently unpaid. This should change and the leave allocation for each parent will have to be paid, therefore enabling its take-up. Paid paternity leave in Malta referred to as birth leave currently varies from 1 day in the private sector to 5 days in public sector.  Through this directive we hope to increase the minimum allocation to 10 days of paid leave at around the time of the birth of a child.’