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The politics of parental leave policiesChildren, parenting, gender and the labour market$
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Sheila Kamerman and Peter Moss

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9781847420671

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781847420671.001.0001

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The European directive: making supra-national parental leave policy

The European directive: making supra-national parental leave policy

(p.243) Fifteen The European directive: making supra-national parental leave policy
The politics of parental leave policies

Bernard Fusulier

Policy Press

Maternity leave and parental leave are subjects of European Union (EU) legislation. In both cases, the minimum standards are defined by the law, not just nationally but also cross-nationally. Although there are some international standards for leave, only the European Union sets legally enforceable supra-national standards that have been agreed by its member states. This chapter discusses the EU's directive on parental leave. It examines the history of the directive on parental leave, from 1983 to 1996. In particular, it probes into the changing political context and how and why this directive was proposed, obstructed, and eventually adopted. The procedures and processes for securing agreement between member states on parental leave policies are discussed as well. This chapter however, does not analyse the implementation of the directive in the different member states and its effects. Based mainly on its official texts, the chapter aims to show how and why, at the European institutional level, the directive was proposed, blocked, and finally adopted. Particular attention is given to the institutional mechanisms that enabled an agreement between social partners and specifically the role of the European Commission in the promotion and launching of negotiations within the framework of the European social dialogue. The chapter ends by highlighting the content of the framework agreement and by drawing attention to some of the major criticisms of it.

Keywords:   maternity leave, parental leave, European Union, EU's directive, European Commission, parental leave policies

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