A European Parliament resolution was adopted on 13 September on creating labour market conditions favourable for work-life balance. The work of equality bodies and Equinet is referred to regularly, and amongst other issues, they call on Member States to strengthen the role, capacities and independence of the equality bodies, including Equinet, inter alia through the provision of adequate funding.
The Resolution included a regard to the report of the European Network of Equality Bodies, Equinet, entitled ‘Equality bodies promoting a better work-life balance for all’ of 8 July 2014.
Some important points to note include that the European Parliament:
15. Calls on the Member States to step up protection against discrimination and unlawful dismissal related to work-life balance, which particularly affect female workers, and to ensure access to justice and legal action, including by increasing the amount of information on offer about workers’ rights and legal assistance, if required; calls in this context on the Commission and the Member States to propose policies to improve enforcement of anti-discrimination measures in the workplace, including increasing the awareness of legal rights regarding equal treatment by conducting information campaigns, reversal of the burden of proof and empowering national equality bodies to conduct formal investigations on their own initiative of equality issues and help potential victims of discrimination;
16. Highlights that the lack of comparable, comprehensive, reliable and regularly updated equality data makes it more difficult to prove the existence of discrimination, particularly indirect discrimination; calls on the Member States to collect equality data in a systematic way and to make them available, with the involvement of national equality bodies and courts, including with a view to analysing and monitoring these data for the Country-Specific Recommendations; calls on the Commission to take initiatives to further promote such data collection by means of a Recommendation to Member States, and by tasking Eurostat with the development of consultations aiming at mainstreaming data disaggregation on all discrimination grounds in European Social Survey indicators; calls on the Commission to continue to cooperate with the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) to improve the quantity and quality of sex-disaggregated data in a systematic way;
18. Notes the important role of the national equality bodies in the implementation of the Employment Equality Directive 2000/78/EC, contributing to awareness raising and data collection, staying in touch with social partners and other stakeholders, addressing underreporting and making complaint processes more accessible; calls on the Member States to strengthen the role, capacities and independence of the equality bodies, including Equinet, inter alia through the provision of adequate funding; calls in particular for strengthening of the organisations provided for in the Equal Treatment Directive 2006/54/EC, guaranteeing access to justice and legal action;
56. Calls on the Member States to fully implement the Equal Treatment Directive 2006/54/EC and on the Commission to revise the directive, and to promote among companies the implementation of plans on gender equality, including actions on desegregation, the development of pay systems and measures to support women’s careers; stresses the importance of the role of equality bodies in assisting victims of discrimination and addressing gender stereotypes; calls on the Member States to put in place legislative measures ensuring the principle of equal opportunities and equal treatment of women and men at work;