Magazine article European Social Policy

Parental Leave : Ecj Rules on Rights of Workers on Parental Leave

Magazine article European Social Policy

Parental Leave : Ecj Rules on Rights of Workers on Parental Leave

Article excerpt

According to a verdict delivered by the EU Court of Justice on 22 October, a reduction in rights "flowing from a worker's employment relationship being reduced in the event of parental leave could discourage workers from taking such leave and could encourage employers to dismiss workers who are on parental leave rather than other workers". This, says the court, goes directly against the framework agreement on parental leave, which was concluded by the European Union's social partners(1).

The court says that the framework agreement on parental leave precludes that where an employer unilaterally terminates a worker's full-time employment contract of indefinite duration, without urgent cause or without observing the statutory period of notice, whilst the worker is on part-time parental leave, the compensation to be paid to the worker should be determined on the basis of the reduced salary being received when the dismissal takes place.

The parental leave framework, created under Directive 96/341 and recently updated by the social partners, is the basis on which member states have to put in place national legislation. It is an agreement on minimum requirements, and includes measures to promote equal opportunities and treatment between men and women, in particular by offering them an opportunity to "reconcile their work responsibilities with family obligations".

THE CASE

The case was brought to the court by Christel Meerts, a Belgian national. …

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