On 26 April 2017, the European Commission proposed a Directive to “support work-life balance for parents and carers”, as the first concrete action to implement the recently adopted European Pillar of Social Rights.

The European Network on Independent Living – ENIL joined forces with other NGO’s in the Work-Life Balance (WLB) Coalition, initiated by COFACE Families Europe, to advocate for a strong and ambitious WLB directive. The reason why ENIL is supporting this effort is because it would be the first EU directive to recognize the problem of a lack of quality support and the overreliance on informal care. There is also a demand for more investment into long term care, which could facilitate the development of community-based services, as opposed to residential care.

The directive is currently debated in the Council of the European Union (composed of Ministers of the different Member States). In the coming months, the Council will adopt its position and it is very important that this position does not water down the Commission’s proposal. While the current proposal is not perfect, it includes a recognition of paid “carer’s leave” and a recommendations for investing in support services. This is the first step, with regard to EU legislation, to recognize that we should move away from a system where support is provided informally, towards a system where people are paid to provide support.

In order to highlight the importance of an ambitious Council position for a strong WLB Directive, we would like to encourage you to contact your national Minister for social affairs and inclusion and/or the department for family and work. The WLB Coalition has prepared a template letter, which you may use for this purpose.

Thank you for your support.


European Network on Independent Living – ENIL