EU work-family policies revisited: finally challenging caring roles?

Michelle Weldon-Johns*

*Corresponding author for this work

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In 2013 Weldon-Johns used the work-family typology classification model (WFTCM) to analyse the development of EU work-family policies. That examination showed that EU work-family legislation continued to focus on maternal care and was underpinned by the extended motherhood typology. In 2019, the Work-Life Balance for Parents and Carers Directive 2019/1158 was passed, implementing key changes to the EU framework. This article takes this as an opportunity to reflect on the current EU approach. In doing so, it revisits the WFTCM and expands the ideal types to include the shared parental roles typology and redefine the family typology. This analysis shows that while some advances have been made, gendered assumptions surrounding care remain, as does the presumption in favour of childcare. Instead of the Directive fulfilling its potential to challenge caring roles, it is likely that they will continue to be reinforced, although there are some hopes for the future.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)301-321
Number of pages21
JournalEuropean Labour Law Journal
Issue number3
Early online date19 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2021


  • Working fathers
  • Working carers
  • Work-family reconciliation
  • Gender equality
  • Work-life balance directive
  • Parental leave
  • Flexible work
  • Work family
  • Rights
  • Paternity leave
  • Carers' leave


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