The work-life balance directive: Towards a gender equalizing EU regulatory welfare state?
In a new article published in the special issue of 'The Reassertion of the Regulatory Welfare State' i Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science' researchers analyse whether Europe is developing towards a gender equalizing welfare state in the light of the work-life balance directive.
This paper analyses whether the EU could be emerging as a gender equalizing regulatory welfare state (RWS), through an examination of the tensions arising from the EU's work-life balance directive in two cases: Denmark and Poland. It examines the earmarking of paid parental leave, which has regulatory and fiscal elements. Drawing on the Europeanisation, feminist and regulatory welfare state literatures, we develop three analytical concepts to capture tensions that arise from regulatory decisions at a higher level of governance, but requiring implementation and funding at lower levels of governance. The concepts are EU-national subsidiarity, state-family subsidiarity, and fiscal constraint. Our findings show that the tensions shape the positions of the actors before and after the adoption of the directive. In both countries, there are similar parental leave schemes ex-ante, and similar positions of the major actors' initial stance on parental leave, favouring stagnation. Yet, the plans of implementation show how the actor positions changed, and the likely result is double expansion and degenderization of parental leave. Although in two different institutional settings, the similar outcome suggests that these changes are due to the European Union as an emerging RWS, that influences member states in terms of regulatory instruments with fiscal elements.
Read the full article 'The work-life balance directive: Towards a gender equalizing EU regulatory welfare state?' by Caroline de la Porte, Dorota Szelewa and Trine P. Larsen published in the 'The Reassertion of the Regulatory Welfare State' i Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science' (login required). The research for this article is partially funded by the EU-Horizon and EUSOCIALCIT research project.