The Socialists and Democrats Euro MPs today joined forces with a cross party progressive majority in the European Parliament to recognise new rights for people who have to take care of a family member.
They backed a resolution calling on the European Commission to "urgently" propose a new EU law which offers "carers" remuneration and minimum standards of social protection during the time they perform the care task. The Conservatives, on the other hand, were opposed to any new progress towards the reconciliation between professional, private and family life.
S&D Group negotiator on this issue, Vilija Blinkevičiūtė, stated after the vote:
"Today the European Parliament has taken a new step towards improving the conciliation between professional and private life for many European citizens. The European population is aging. Our family structures have changed with the development of our economies. Our grand-parents and parents no longer live under the same roof as their children. In many countries, we rely on specialised institutions to take care of our elderlies and relatives.
"But for many Europeans, this is not that easy. Sometimes, these institutions are not affordable or they do not offer enough space. More and more family members - and in many cases these are women - give up their job to take care of a family member, husband, step-parent or parents. We believe that we should offer men and women the right to temporarily leave their job to take care of their loved ones, sick relatives or other dependants. They should be offered the right to return after they have accomplished their task.
"We are also calling for the recognition of the profession and value of households' work. Today, 2.5 million people work in the care sector or as a household's employee. 88% of them are women and migrants. We want them to be protected by labour law and be granted a status."