These are the things EU parents really, really want from employers



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The pandemic shone a light on a lot of workplace issues for many office-based employees, and for parents, the switch to working from home was particularly fraught for many. Juggling remote work responsibilities with childcare made for stressed, anxious parents who knew there had to be a better way.

There is: From the start of August this year, all Member States are now required to adopt EU-wide rules to improve work-life balance. It’s called the directive on work-life balance for parents and carers, and it sets out minimum standards for paternity, parental and carers’ leave, which are in addition to existing maternity leave rights.

The directive also establishes the right to request flexible working arrangements. All the provisions in it are designed to help people develop their careers and family life – without having to sacrifice either. 

The ultimate aim is to boost participation of women in the labour market and to increase the take-up of family-related leave and flexible working arrangements. As it stands, women’s participation in the EU labour market is almost 11% below that of men’s, and only 68% of women with care responsibilities are in employment, compared to 81% of men with the same responsibilities. 

The directive allows for a number of helpful provisions for parents which include paternity leave, allowing working fathers’ at least 10 working days of paternity leave around the time of birth of their child, ensuring that paternity leave is compensated at least at the level of sick pay. 

There is also a four-month provision for parental leave for both parents. Two months is paid and non-transferable, and parents can request to take their leave in a flexible form, either full-time, part-time, or in segments.

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Acknowledging the fact that around 21% of the EU’s population is over the age of 65, the carers’ leave provision is very welcome too. It allows for all workers who are providing personal care or support to a relative or person living in the same household as them to have the right to at least five working days of carers’ leave per year.

When it comes to the ability to work flexibly, all working parents with children up to eight years old, and all carers have the right to request reduced working hours, flexible working hours, and flexibility in their place of work too.

Ultimately, the directive means that parents and carers are able to properly balance their professional and private lives and the adoption of the provisions will be monitored. The Commission will assess compliance in Member States, and take action if necessary. 

For working parents in the EU, the ideal situation is to boost these new supports by working for a company with additional family-friendly policies and programmes in place. Below we are taking a look at three companies with particularly good policies, and you can find plenty more on the Silicon Canals Job Board.


Professional services firm Deloitte has a huge footprint in Europe with around 109,300 employees across the continent. Depending on the country, the company has a vast array of benefits and compensation packages for its workers, many of which are focused on supporting families and flexible ways of working. 

These include adoptive/surrogacy leave, parental leave and parents’ leave, as well as foster care and carers leave. The company has also made provisions for how its teams want to work, with options for compressed working weeks in the summer, and hybrid working. Check out open roles at Deloitte here.


The payments giant has a presence in most European countries, including Ireland, Belgium, France, The Netherlands and Spain. PayPal supports new parents through its Cleo service, an app that offers expert advice, and information. 

It is available to all parents, regardless of their path to parenthood, including adoption and surrogacy. It gives employees guidance from when they first discover the pregnancy or make a decision to adopt, through the baby’s first year, gives access to virtual sessions or in-home sessions (where available) with a Cleo expert to help with questions and concerns: from breastfeeding, sleeping through the night, or finding a balance, tailored recommendations, and 24/7 messaging support. 

Additionally, PayPal offers ​​Rethink, a research-based programme to help parents navigate parenting a child with developmental disabilities. Find out more about open roles at the company.


Depending on the country you work in, Indeed offers varying levels of benefits. In Germany, for example, you can expect paid leave as a parent or caregiver for 16 weeks. You’ll receive  fully-paid leave, with a return transition period. Secondary caregivers can take six weeks of fully-paid leave. Indeed also offers paid bereavement leave of up to 15 days.

Additionally, the company supports all paths to parenthood, and has an allied partner for egg/sperm freezing, IUI, IVF, adoption, surrogacy, maternity and early paediatrics. Indeed offers a taxable reimbursement benefit to offset the costs of starting a family and strives to support its people by offering employees parenting and paediatrics programs, child and elder care provider matching, and backup care for days when your regular care isn’t available. Browse all open roles at Indeed.

Find a job that suits your parenting style on the Silicon Canals Job Board today


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