Latest update: 01/07/2021

Directive 2019/1158 - work-life balance for parents and carers

Directive (EU) 2019/1158 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 June 2019 on work-life balance for parents and carers and repealing Council Directive 2010/18/EU


This EU Directive sets out minimum requirements for parental leave, paternity leave and carers’ leave. All men and women who have an employment contract are entitled to take parental leave, paternity leave, or carers’ leave and to arrange flexible working schemes in accordance to the Directive.

The Directive also entitles second parents to take leave, thus it intents to create an incentive for fathers to take parental or paternity leave and to take on caring responsibilities. In this way, the Directive shall contribute to a more equal sharing of caring responsibilities between men and women.

For the provisions on maternity leave, please consult Council Directive 92/85/EEC.


The Directive gives legal definitions for the terms ‘paternity leave’, ‘parental leave’, ‘carers' leave’, ‘carer’, ‘relative’ and ‘flexible working arrangements’.


The Directive entitles all workers to take parental leave, paternity leave, or carers’ leave. Each worker has the right to take four months paid parental leave on the occasion of the birth of a child, of which two months are not transferable between the parents. It also entitles second parents to take at least ten working days of paid paternity leave. The Member States can make flexible arrangements for the timing and scope.

The remuneration for paternity leave must be at least as high as the remuneration for maternity leave, unless the existing national regulations provide for parental leave of at least six months for each parent and the parent is entitled to a remuneration of at least 65 percent of the net income (can be subject to a ceiling value). In addition, of each parent's individual right to parental leave of four months, two months should not be transferred to the other parent.

The Directive also introduces the right to take care leave of up to five working days per year. The guideline does not impose an employer obligation to pay during the care leave; yet it recommends that the Member States introduce such a regulation.

Finally, the Directive provides that employees should be able to apply for flexible work arrangements for care purposes. This can include the temporary reduction of working hours, but also teleworking (home office) or working under flexible work schedules.


Correlation table with Directive 2010/18/EU

Read the full text of the Directive

National measures implementing this Directive

Further information on this topic

See also information published by the European Commission