Miguel De la Corte-Rodríguez has been working as a Social Security Auditor for the Spanish Public Administration since 2005. From 2017 to 2020 he was seconded to the Gender Equality Unit of the European Commission, where he dealt first hand with the preparation, negotiation and approval of the 2019 Directive on Work-Life Balance (WLB). At the moment, he is an Affiliated Senior Researcher at the Institute for Social Law of KU Leuven, where he participates regularly as a guest lecturer. He wrote the 2022 thematic report on the transposition of the WLB Directive in EU Member States for the network.
Miguel De la Corte began his presentation by outlining the main content of the WLB Directive, the objective of which is to improve the situation of women in the labour market through better and more equally shared WLB measures. He stressed that in comparison to EU law in place before the adoption, the Directive puts a specific focus on fathers’ rights and incentives for fathers to take parental leave.
Furthermore, he highlighted the Directive’s life cycle approach, with a focus not only on care for children but also care for other family members. In general, the Directive strengthens the concept of parental leave and the right to request flexible working arrangements and newly introduces the concepts of paternity (because of encouraging the earliest possible involvement of the father in raising children) and carers’ leave.
With regard to the transposition of the Directive, he sees some serious shortcomings. Hence, while all Member States needed to adopt implementation measures to bring their legislation into harmony with the provisions of the Directive, only 15 States had done so by the cut-off date of his thematic report (31 August 2022) and only one country had implemented the Directive satisfactorily.
According to Miguel De la Corte-Rodríguez, particular shortcomings of transposition remain in the areas of parental leave, flexible working arrangements and legal protection. In these areas, the legislation of the majority of Member States is not in line with the provisions of the Directive. Furthermore, even where legislation is in place, he was critical of issues such as existing conditions of eligibility to take leave, insufficient allowances and the existence of family rights (meaning that families can decide who takes the leave which goes against gender equality), as well as problems with personal scope.
He concluded by highlighting that, while there are some positive aspects and less problematic areas, for example regarding force majeure leave and paternity leave, much work remains for the Member States, the European Commission and academics.