Gender mainstreaming and work-life balance

Author:Isabela Delia Popa - Valentina Lidia Lupu
Pages:66-85
SUMMARY

The past decade has witnessed major changes in the size and composition of the workforce in the EU Member States, including in Romania. The changes occurred in terms of technology and economy were accompanied by a strong surge in the number of women at work and led to a significant increase in the proportion of families where both parents are at work. The massive entry of women into the labour market across many European countries determined changes in household structures and in the relationship between work and family. This paper examines how the European Union and, particularly, Romania have responded to these challenges by examining the extent to which the adoption of formal policies succeeded to promote equality in the workplace, as well as working arrangements that support work-life balance. A special synthetic conclusive chapter is dedicated to moral harassment at work, a health-related risk that affects more and more employees, and which catalyses inequalities in the workplace.

 
CONTENT
66 ISABELA DELIA POPA, VALENTINA LIDIA LUPU
GENDER MAINSTREAMING AND WORK-LIFE BALANCE
Isabela Delia POPA
Valentina Lidia LUPU
ABSTRACT
The past decade has witnessed major changes in the size and composition of the workforce in the
EU Member States, including in Romania. The changes occurred in terms of technology and
economy were accompanied by a strong surge in the number of women at work and led to a
significant increase in the proportion of families where both parents are at work. The massive entry of
women into the labour market across many European countries determined changes in household
structures and in the relationship between work and family. This paper examines how the European
Union and, particularly, Romania have responded to these challenges by examining the extent to
which the adoption of formal policies succeeded to promote equality in the workplace, as well as
working arrangements that support work-life balance. A special synthetic conclusive chapter is
dedicated to moral harassment at work, a health-related risk that affects more and more employees,
and which catalyses inequalities in the workplace.
Key-words: gender equality, work–life balance, work–life conflict, moral harassment, women
in the workforce.
JEL classification K31; K32; K49
I. Introduction
The past decade has witnessed major changes in the size and composition of
the workforce in the EU Member States, including in Romania. The changes
occurred in terms of technology and economy were accompanied by a strong surge
in the number of women at work and led to a significant increase in the proportion
of families where both parents are at work. The massive entry of women into the
labour market across many European countries determined changes in household
structures and in the relationship between work and family.
This article examines how the European Union and, particularly, Romania
have responded to these challenges by examining the extent to which the adoption
Collaborator Assistant Professor, The National University of Political Studies and Public
Administration (SNSPA), Bucharest, Romania; PhD candidate, Faculty of Law of the University of
Bucharest, Bucharest, Romania; Attorney-at-law, Bucharest Bar, Romania.
 PhD candidate, Faculty of Law of the University of Bucharest, Bucharest, Romania;
Attorney-at-law, Bucharest Bar, Romania.
Law Review vol. VI, special issue, December 2016, p. 66-85
Gender mainstreaming and work-life balance 67
of formal policies succeeded to promote equality in the workplace, as well as
working arrangements that support work-life balance.
Needless to say, measures promoting work-life balance are of vital importance
to the practical outcome of gender equality: not only do they allow women, who
disproportionately bear the responsibilities of caring for children and other
dependents, to balance those responsibilities with paid work, but they can also
facilitate the partial transfer of caring responsibilities onto men, thus advancing
gender equality at a more elaborated level.
In terms of combining parenthood and employment, Romania faces real issues
in ensuring a stable and clear legislative framework for reconciling work, private
life and family. The gender gap is more evident with respect to the possibility of
varying the start and/or the end times of the working day, men employees
enjoying a bigger advantage in this regard.
Moreover, the perpetual combustion of technology led to a permanent
connection of the employees to their work. The “privilege” to be in possession of
technology which allows e-mail checking 24/7, the “responsibility” to be updated
with all aspects that are work-related even during free-time, as well as the
employers’ expectancy that employees dedicate all their efforts to handle the given
workload irrespective of the contractually agreed working schedule, have tied-up
the employees by an electronic strap. The impossibility to effectively leave work
and the permanent connection to work causes stress, burnout and depression.
Under these circumstances, work-life balance turns into a utopic concept. The
question to be addressed is whether we leave this aspect to become universal and
an accepted “modus vivendi”, or whether further legislative intervention should
be considered in relation thereto.
II. Gender Equality and Work-Life Balance – Historical Background
The enforcement of the principle of gender equality has represented a priority
to the European Union since its founding. It was firstly introduced in 1957, when
the principle of equal pay for equal work became part of the Treaty Establishing
the European Economic Community1, and since then it has been strengthened and
consolidated throughout an extensive body of primary and secondary legislation
enacted by the European Union.
In this regard, it is worth mentioning that art. 119 of the EEC Treaty provided
the principle that men and women should receive equal pay for equal work. As per
the aforementioned provisions, equal pay without discrimination based on gender
had the following meaning: first, the same unit of measurement should be
1 Treaty Establishing the European Economic Community, Mar. 25, 1957, 298 U.N.T.S. 11
[hereinafter EEC TREATY]. Retrieved from http://ec.europa.eu/archives/emu_history/documents/
treaties/rometreaty2.pdf [28 December 2016].
68 ISABELA DELIA POPA, VALENTINA LIDIA LUPU
considered as calculation basis of the pay attributed to the same work at piece
rates, and, secondly, same jobs where work at rate times is performed should be
paid the same.
The first legislative measure adopted by the Council in the field of gender
equality was the Equal Pay Directive2, which developed the principle provided by
the EEC Treaty. The Equal Pay Directive provided that the principle of equal pay
implied the elimination of any discrimination on the grounds of gender with
regard to anything related to pay for the same work or work of equal value3.
One year later, the Council adopted the Equal Treatment Directive4, extending
the principle of equal pay to equal treatment between women and men in the field
of access to employment, professional training and promotion, and conditions of
employment5.
Also, the Council adopted legislation on equal treatment in the field of social
security6, and the self-employed and the role of their spouses7.
The Treaty on European Union8, signed at Maastricht in 1992, confirms and
enlarges the principle of equal pay introduced by art. 119 of the EEC Treaty,
foreseeing the possibility that Member States maintain or adopt “measures
providing for specific advantages in order to make it easier for women to pursue a
2 Council Directive 75/117/EEC of 10 February 1975 on the approximation of the laws of the
Member States relating to the application of the principle of equal pay for men and women, OJ L 045,
19/02/75 [hereinafter Equal Pay Directive]. Retrieved from http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/
LexUriServ.do?uri=CELEX:31975L0117:EN:HTML [28 December 2016].
3 Equal Pay Directive, supra note 2, art. 1.
4 Council Directive 76/207/EEC of 9 February 1976 on the implementation of the principle of
equal treatment for men and women as regards access to employment, vocational training and
promotion, and working conditions, OJ L 39, 14/02/1976 [hereinafter Equal Treat ment Directive].
Retrieved from http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A31976L0207 [28
December 2016].
5 Equal Treatment Directive, supra note 3, art. 1.
6 Council Directive 79/7/EEC of 19 December 1978 on the progressive implementation of the
principle of equal treatment for men and women in matters of social security, OJ L 6, 10/01/1979.
Retrieved from http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/ALL/?uri=CELEX:31979L0007 [28
December 2016]. Also, Council Directive 86/378/EEC of 24 July 1986 on the implementation of the
principle of equal treatment for men and women in occupational social security schemes, OJ L 225,
12/08/1986. Retrieved from http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CELEX:31986
L0378:EN:HTML [28 December 2016].
7 Council Directive 86/613/EEC of 11 December 1986 on the application of the principle of equal
treatment between men and women engaged in an activity, including agriculture, in a self-employed
capacity, and on the protection of self-employed women during pregnancy and motherhood, OJ L 359,
19/12/1986. Retrieved from http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CELEX:
31986L0613:EN:HTML [28 December 2016].
8 Treaty on European Union, OJ C 326, 26.10.2012 [hereinafter Treaty on European Union].
Retrieved from https://europa.eu/european-union/sites/europaeu/files/docs/body/treaty_on_
european_union_en.pdf [28 December 2016].
Gender mainstreaming and work-life balance 69
vocational activity or to prevent or compensate for disadvantages in their
professional careers” (art. 6).
During the period 1992 – 1997, a whole range of other instruments addressing
the important aspect of equality between women and men in the field of
employment and social security were enacted at the level of the European Union
(i.e., directives on pregnancy and maternity leave, directive on parental leave,
directive on part-time work, directive on the burden of proof in cases of
discrimination on the grounds of sex)9.With the entry into force of the Treaty of
Amsterdam in 199910, the promotion of equality between men and women became
one of the essential tasks of the European Union11 and one of the most important
activities12 . Art. 3 para. (2) of the EC Treaty is of particular importance, since it
introduces for the first time in the Treaties the concept of gender mainstreaming,
which entails for the integration of a gender perspective into every stage of the
issuing process (design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation) and into all
policies of the Union, with a view to promoting equality between women
and men13.
Furthermore, the former art. 119 (renumbered as art. 141) of the EC Treaty was
also subject to amendment in the Treaty of Amsterdam, incorporating the concept
ofequal pay for work of equal value (initially provided by the Equal Pay
Directive). The aforementioned text allows Member States to adopt or maintain
positive measures in order to facilitate the exercise of professional activities for the
underrepresented sex or to avoid or compensate disadvantages in their
professional careers.
9 Council Directive 92/85/EEC of 19 October 1992 on the introduction of measures to encourage
improvements in the safety and health at work of pregnant workers and workers who have recently
given birth or are breastfeeding, OJ L 348, 28/11/1992; Council Directive 96/34/EC of 3 June 1996 on
the framework agreement on parental leave concluded by UNICE, CEEP and the ETUC, OJ L 145,
19/06/1996; Council Directive 97/81/EC of 15 December 1997 concerning the Framework Agreement
on part-time work concluded by UNICE, CEEP and the ETUC, OJ L 14, 20/01/1998; Council Directive
97/80/EC of 15 December 1997 on the burden of proof in cases of discrimination based on sex, OJ L
14, 20/01/1998.
10 Treaty of Amsterdam amending the Treaty on European Union, the Treaties Establishing the
European Communities and Certain Related Acts, O.J. C 340/1 1997 [hereinafter Treaty of
Amsterdam]. Retrieved from http://www.europarl.europa.eu/topics/treaty/pdf/amst-en.pdf [30
December 2016].
11 Art. 2 of the Treaty Establishing the European Community (Consolidated version 2002), OJ C
325, 24/12/2002 [hereinafter EC Treaty]. Retrieved from http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/
EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A12002E%2FTXT [30 December 2016].
12 Art. 3 of the EC Treaty.
13 Arribas, G. V., Carrasco, L., 2003. Gender equality and the EU. An assessment of the current
issues. EIPAscope (2003/1) [online] pp. 23. Retrieved from http://www.eipa.eu/files/repository/
eipascope/scop2003_1_3.pdf [30 December 2016].
70 ISABELA DELIA POPA, VALENTINA LIDIA LUPU
Another important principle established by the Treaty of Amsterdam was the
principle of non-discrimination, provided by art. 13. This text of law is of crucial
importance, since it covers discrimination beyond the workforce and includes
eight specific grounds on which discrimination is prohibited: gender, race or ethnic
origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation.
The next important moment in the development of EU gender equality
legislation was the adoption of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European
Union14, which was formally proclaimed in Nice in December 2000 by the
European Parliament, Council and Commission. The principle of gender equality
was established in: (i) art. 21 – it prohibits discrimination on any grounds,
including gender; (ii) art. 23 – it recognises the right to gender equality in all areas
and the necessity of positive action for its promotion; (iii) art. 33 - it contains the
right to reconciliation of professional and family life.
In 2009, the Treaty of Lisbon15 confirmed once again the importance of gender
equality in the European Union. Equality between men and women is a
fundamental right and a common principle of the European Union, enshrined in
art. 2 and art. 3 para. (3) of the Treaty on European Union16 and in art. 8 of the
Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union17. Both Treaties - the Treaty on
European Union and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union - are
important for the further development of EU gender equality legislation, as these
serve as basis for the adoption of future legislation and other EU gender equality
measures.
14 The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, 2010 O.J. C 83/02 [hereinafter
Charter of Rights].
15 Treaty of Lisbon amending the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty establishing the
European Community, OJ C 306, 17/12/2007 [hereinafter Treaty of Lisbon]. Retrieved from
http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/en/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A12007L%2FTXT [30 December
2016]. The Charter of Rights became a binding catalogue of EU fundamental rights since the entry into
force of the Treaty of Lisbon.
16 Treaty on European Union (consolidated version), OJ C 326, 26/10/2012 [hereinafter Treaty on
European Union]. Retrieved from http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/e n/TXT/?uri=CELEX%
3A12012M%2FTXT [30 December 2016]. Art. 2 of the Treaty on European Union provides that “the
Union is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and
respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities. These values are common to
the Member States in a society in which pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice, solidarity and equality
between women and men prevail”. Also, pursuant to art. 3 para. (3) of the Treaty on European Union, one
of the aims of the EU is to “combat social exclusion and discrimination, and (…) promote social justice and
protection, equality between women and men, solidarity between generations and protection of the rights of the
child”.
17 Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (consolidated version), OJ C 326, 26/10/2012
[hereinafter Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union]. Retrieved from http://eur-
lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A12012E%2FTXT [30 December 2016].
According to the provisions of art. 8 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, “in all its
activities, the Union shall aim to eliminate inequalities, and to promote equality, between men and women”.
Gender mainstreaming and work-life balance 71
III. EU Legislation on Gender Equality and Work-Life Balance
1. The crucial importance of art. 157 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the
European Union
Art. 157 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union18 is, without
question, of paramount importance in the European Union area of gender equality
and work-life balance.
Firstly, it should be noted that art. 157 not only prohibits direct discrimination
based on gender in the field of pay, but also indirect discrimination. Direct gender
discrimination occurs where either a woman or a man is treated less favourably on
the grounds of his/her sex than a person of the opposite sex and suffered a
detriment. Indirect gender discrimination occurs where a provision, criterion or
practice is applied to both sexes but to the detriment of a considerably larger
proportion of one sex than the other, and where it is not justifiable, irrespective of
gender, to apply that provision, criterion or practice.
Secondly, art. 157 also extends the principle to “work of equal value”, which
implies that a comparison should be made between the work performed and the
salary received by male and female workers. In this regard, several factors need to
be taken into account, such as the nature of the activities actually entrusted to
employees, training requirements and working conditions.
Finally, the prohibition applies in cases of discrimination arising directly from
legislative provisions or collective labour agreements, as well as in cases in which
work is carried out in the same establishment or service, whether private or public.
2. Relevant EU legislation regulating gender mainstreaming
The EU legal framework on gender equality and work-life balance is
represented by the main following instruments:
18 The art. 157 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union provides as following:
1. Each Member State shall ensure that the principle of equal pay for male and female workers for equal
work or work of equal value is applied.
2. For the purpose of this Article, "pay" means the ordinary basic or minimum wage or salary and any
other consideration, whether in cash or in kind, which the worker receives directly or indirectly, in respect of his
employment, from his employer.
Equal pay without discrimination based on sex means:
(a) that pay for the same work at piece rates shall be calculated on the basis of the same unit of
measurement;
(b) that pay for work at time rates shall be the same for the same job.
3. The European Parliament and the Council, acting in accordance with the o rdinary legislative procedure,
and after consulting the Economic and Social Committee, shall adopt measures to ensure the application of the
principle of equal opportunities and equal treatment of men and women in matters of employment and
occupation, including the principle of equal pay for equal work or work of equal val ue.
4. With a view to ensuring full equality in practice between men and women in working life, the principle
of equal treatment shall not prevent any Member State from maintaining or adopting measures providing for
specific advantages in order to make it easier for the underrepresented sex to pursue a vocational activity or to
prevent or compensate for disadvantages in professional careers.
72 ISABELA DELIA POPA, VALENTINA LIDIA LUPU
a) Directive 2006/54/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 July 2006
on the implementation of the principle of equal opportunities and equal treatment of men
and women in matters of employment and occupation (recast)19
The purpose of the recast Directive 2006/54/EC is to ensure the
implementation of the principle of equal opportunities and equal treatment of men
and women in matters of employment and occupation, by bringing together in a
single text the main provisions existing in this field20, as well as certain
developments arising out of the case-law of the Court of Justice of the European
Union.
The recast Directive 2006/54/EC contains provisions to implement the
principle of equal treatment in relation to: (a) access to self-employment and
employment, including promotion, recruitment, dismissals and to vocational
training; (b) working conditions, including pay; (c) occupational social security
schemes particularly concerning the scope and conditions of access to the schemes,
the contributions, the calculation of benefits and the conditions governing the
duration and retention of entitlement.
Needless to say, in addition to art. 157 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the
European Union, the recast Directive 2006/54/EC also applies to equal work and
work of equal value and also, a fortiori, to work of higher value. Finally, it should
be noted that the application of the recast Directive shall be without prejudice to
provisions concerning the protection of women, particularly as regards pregnancy
and maternity.
b) Directive 2010/41/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 July 2010
on the application of the principle of equal treatment between men and women engaged in
an activity in a self-employed capacity and repealing Council Directive 86/613/ECC21
Balancing family life and work, as a factor of gender equality, is a challenge
not only for male and female employees, but also for the self-employed and their
partners who help them in their professions or businesses.
19 Directive 2006/54/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 July 2006 on the
implementation of the principle of equal opportunities and equal treatment of men and women in
matters of employment and occupation (recast), OJ L 204, 26/07/2006 [hereinafter Directive
2006/54/EC]. Retrieved from http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=celex:32006
L0054 [30 December 2016].
20 Equal Treatment Directive; Council Directive 86/378/EEC of 24 July 1986 on the
implementation of the principle of equal treatment for men and women in occupational social security
schemes, OJ L 225, 12/08/1986. Retrieved from http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUri
Serv.do?uri=CELEX:31986L0378:EN:HTML [28 December 2016]; Equal Pay Directive; Council
Directive 97/80/EC of 15 December 1997 on the burden of proof in cases of discrimination based on
sex, OJ L 14, 20/01/1998.
21 Directive 2010/41/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 July 2010 on the
application of the principle of equal treatment between men and women engaged in an activity in a
self-employed capacity and repealing Council Directive 86/613/EEC, OJ L 180, 15.7.2010 [hereinafter
Directive 2010/41/EU]. Retrieved from http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=
CELEX%3A32010L0041 [30 December 2016].
Gender mainstreaming and work-life balance 73
Directive 2010/41/EU replaces and updates the former legislation (Directive
86/613/EEC of 11 December 1986), which established the principle of equal
treatment between men and women in self-employment. The Directive
2010/41/EU applies to self-employed workers, meaning all persons pursuing a
gainful activity for their own benefit, and to the spouses of self-employed workers
(including to the life partners of self-employed workers, when and insofar as
recognised by national law, where they habitually participate in the activities of the
self-employed worker and perform the same tasks)22.
The Directive 2010/41/EU contains provisions on maternity benefits.
Self-employed women and female spouses or life partners who regularly
contribute to the activity of self-employed workers without being employees or
business partners shall be entitled to a maternity allowance for at least 14 weeks.
This allowance shall be sufficient to enable them to interrupt their activities, if they
wish to do so23.
The maternity allowance shall therefore be equivalent to: (i) the average loss of
income or profit (with the amendment that this amount may be subject to a ceiling
limit); and/or (ii) the allowance provided at national level in the event of an
interruption in activities on health grounds; and/or (iii) any other family-related
allowance provided for and determined by the EU country24.
During the interruption in their activities due to maternity, women shall have
access to replacement services and national social services. The provision of these
services may replace all or a part of the maternity allowance25.
c) Council Directive 2010/18/EU of 8 March 2010 implementing the revised
Framework Agreement on parental leave concluded by BUSINESSEUROPE, UEAPME,
CEEP and ETUC and repealing Directive 96/34/EC26
Work life balance is a natural corollary to gender equality and aims to achieve
gender equality not only in law but also in the real life. Therefore, although not
adopted as a specific gender equality directive, the Parental Leave Directive plays
an important role in the gender mainstreaming.
The revised Parental Leave Directive lays down minimum requirements
designed to facilitate the reconciliation of parental and professional responsibilities
for working parents, concerning the following issues:
1. Parental leave: (i) male and female workers must have the individual right
to parental leave on the grounds of the birth or adoption of a child to take care of
22 Art. 2 of Directive 2010/41/EU.
23 Art. 8 para (1) of Directive 2010/41/EU.
24 Art. 8 para. (3) of Directive 2010/41/EU.
25 Art. 8 para. (4) of Directive 2010/41/EU.
26 Council Directive 2010/18/EU of 8 March 2010 implementing the revised Framework
Agreement on parental leave concluded by BUSINESSEUROPE, UEAPME, CEEP and ETUC and
repealing Directive 96/34/EC, OJ L 68, 18/03/2010 [hereinafter Parental Leave Directive]. Retrieved
from http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=celex:32010L0018 [31 December 2016].
74 ISABELA DELIA POPA, VALENTINA LIDIA LUPU
that child until a given age up to eight years to be defined by Member States
and/or social partners; (ii) the leave shall be granted for a period of at least four
months and, to promote equal opportunities and equal treatment between men
and women, should, in principle, be provided on a non-transferable basis. To
encourage a more equal take-up of leave by both parents, at least one of the four
months shall be provided on a non-transferable basis27.
2. Employment rights and non-discrimination: (i) at the end of parental leave,
workers shall have the right to return to the same job or, if that is not possible, to
an equivalent or similar job consistent with their employment contract or
employment relationship; (ii) the working parents should be protected against
dismissal on the grounds of an application for, or the taking of, parental leave; (iii)
rights acquired or in the process of being acquired by the worker on the date on
which parental leave starts shall be maintained and will stand until the end of
parental leave. At the end of parental leave, these rights, including any changes
arising from national law, collective agreements and/or practice, shall apply28.
3. Returning to work: (i) the working parents, when returning from parental
leave, may request changes to their working hours and/or patterns for a set period
of time; (ii) the working parents may take time off from work, in accordance with
national legislation, collective agreements and/or practice, for unforeseeable
reasons arising from a family emergency in the event of sickness or an accident
which makes the immediate presence of the worker indispensable29.
d) Council Directive 2004/113/EC of 13 December 2004 implementing the principle of
equal treatment between men and women in the access to and supply of goods and
services30
The purpose of the Gender Directive is to lay down a framework for
preventing discrimination based on gender with respect to the access to and
supply of goods and services, particularly in the field of insurance, with a view to
enforcing the principle of equal treatment for men and women in the Member
States.
The prohibition of discrimination between women and men applies to access
to and supply of goods and services, in both the public and private sectors. The
Gender Directive applies to goods and services which are available to the public,
irrespective of the persons concerned, and which are offered outside the area of
private and family life. All direct and indirect discrimination between women and
men is prohibited, including unfavourable treatment for reasons of pregnancy and
27 Clause 2 of Parental Leave Directive.
28 Clause 5 of Parental Leave Directive.
29 Clause 6 of Parental Leave Directive.
30 Council Directive 2004/113/EC of 13 December 2004 implementing the principle of equal
treatment between men and women in the access to and supply of goods and services, OJ L 373,
21/12/2004 [hereinafter Gender Directive]. Retrieved from http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/
EN/TXT/?uri=celex:32004L0113 [31 December 2016].
Gender mainstreaming and work-life balance 75
maternity. Harassment, sexual harassment and instigation to discrimination are
considered as discrimination based on gender and for this reason are also
prohibited.
Differences in the treatment of men and women may be accepted only if they
are justified by a legitimate aim, such as the protection of victims of sex-related
violence (in cases such as the establishment of single-sex shelters) or the freedom of
association (in cases of membership of single-sex private clubs). Any limitation
should nevertheless be appropriate and necessary31.
e) Council Directive 92/85/EEC of 19 October 1992 on the introduction of measures to
encourage improvements in the safety and health at work of pregnant workers and workers
who have recently given birth or are breastfeeding32
The objective of this Directive is to take minimum measures to protect the
health and safety of pregnant workers, workers who have recently given birth and
women who are breastfeeding. The main provisions are related to:
1. Maternity leave: (i) maternity leave must be for an uninterrupted period of
at least 14 weeks before and/or after delivery, two of which must occur before the
delivery; (ii) the pay and allowance for maternity leave shall be deemed adequate
if it guarantees income at least equivalent to that which the worker concerned
would receive in the event of a break in her activities on grounds connected with
her state of health, and is subject to any ceiling laid down under national
legislation; (iii) the right to pay or to an allowance may be subject to certain
conditions, though not the condition that a period of work of more than 12 months
should have immediately preceded the presumed date of birth33.
2. Exposure to risks: (i) exposure of the workers in question to chemical,
physical, biological and stress risks is to be avoided by provisionally adjusting
their working conditions or their working hours; (ii) where such adjustment is not
technically and/or objectively feasible, or cannot reasonably be required on duly
substantiated grounds, the employer shall take the necessary measures to move
the worker concerned to another job; (iii) where transfer to another activity is not
feasible, the workers in question must be granted leave for the whole of the period
considered necessary to protect their safety and health34.
3. Night work: (i) the workers should not be obliged to perform night work
during their pregnancy and for a period following childbirth; (ii) the workers must
be transferred to daytime work where possible, or otherwise by excusing them
from work or extending maternity leave35.
31 Article 4 para. (5) of Gender Directive.
32 Council Directive 92/85/EEC of 19 October 1992 on the introduction of measures to encourage
improvements in the safety and health at work of pregnant workers and workers who have recently
given birth or are breastfeeding (tenth individual Directive within the meaning of Article 16 (1) of
Directive 89/391/EEC), OJ L 348, 28/11/1992 [hereinafter Directive 92/85/EEC]. Retrieved from
http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=celex%3A31992L0085 [31 December 2016].
33 Art. 8 of Directive 92/85/EEC.
34 Art. 5 of Directive 92/85/EEC.
35 Art. 7 of Directive 92/85/EEC.
76 ISABELA DELIA POPA, VALENTINA LIDIA LUPU
4. Ante-natal examinations: pregnant workers have the right to take leave from
work without loss of pay to enable them to attend ante-natal examinations if such
examinations take place during working hours36.
5. Employment rights: (i) the employment rights relating to the employment
contract, including the maintenance of a payment to, and/or entitlement to an
adequate allowance for the pregnant workers, workers who have recently given
birth and workers who are breastfeeding must be guaranteed; (ii) women may not
be dismissed for reasons related to their condition for the period from the
beginning of their pregnancy to the end of the period of leave from work. In the
event of dismissal, the employer must justify their action in writing37.
f) Council Directive 79/7/ECC of 19 December 1978 on the progressive
implementation of the principle of equal treatment for men and women in matters of social
security38
The Directive 79/7/EEC aims to implement the principle of equal treatment in
matters of social security. This principle protects European citizens against
discrimination on grounds of gender, whether direct or indirect. More specifically,
it regards: (i) the scope of the schemes and the conditions of access; (ii) the
obligation concerning contributions and the calculation of these contributions; (iii)
the calculation of benefits and the conditions governing the duration and retention
of entitlement to benefit.
The Directive 79/7/EEC applies to statutory social security schemes which
provide protection against sickness, invalidity, accidents at work and occupational
diseases, unemployment and risks related to old age and to social assistance which
supplements or replaces the basic schemes. It does not apply to survivors’ benefits
and family benefit schemes39.
g) Council Recommendation 92/241/EEC of 31 March 1992 concerning childcare40
The objective of the Council Recommendation 92/241/EEC is to encourage
increased participation by men in childcare in order to achieve a more equal
sharing of parental responsibilities between men and women, and to enable
women to have a more effective role in the labour market.
The recommendation addresses the following areas: (i) the provision of
childcare services while parents are either working, studying or training or actively
seeking work; (ii) special leave for working parents who have children to look
36 Art. 9 of Directive 92/85/EEC.
37 Art. 10 of Directive 92/85/EEC.
38 Council Directive 79/7/EEC of 19 December 1978 on the progressive implementation of the
principle of equal treatment for men and women in matters of social security, OJ L 6, 10/01/1979
[hereinafter Directive 79/7/EEC]. Retrieved from http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/
?uri=CELEX%3A31979L0007 [31 December 2016].
39 Art. 3 of Directive 79/7/EEC.
40 92/241/EEC: Council recommendation of 31 March 1992 on child care, OJ L 123, 08/05/1992
[hereinafter Council Recommendation 92/241/EEC]. Retrieved from http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-
content/EN/TXT/?uri=celex%3A31992H0241 [05 January 2017].
Gender mainstreaming and work-life balance 77
after; (iii) making the working environment more responsive to the needs of
workers with children; (iv) measures to help both parents share their work and
childcare responsibilities.
3. Gender equality and work-life balance in the most recent European Union
policy documents
Gender equality and work-life balance have also been considered in the most
recent EU policy documents, thus revealing that the concern at the EU level is
growing with respect to this issue. The recent EU policy documents on gender
equality and work-life balance, with real impact at national level, are the following:
a) Europe 2020 Strategy
Europe 2020 Strategy, which follows the Lisbon Strategy for the period
2000-2010, puts forward three mutually reinforcing priorities: (i) smart growth,
with the aim to develop an economy based on knowledge and innovation,
(ii) sustainable growth, in the sense of promoting a more resource efficient, greener
and more competitive economy, and (iii) inclusive growth, targeting to foster a
high-employment economy so as to create social and territorial cohesion41.
In order to achieve the priorities established by Europe 2020 Strategy, the
increase of the employment rate of the population aged 20-64 is of pivotal
importance. This target should be achieved through the greater involvement of
women, older workers and the better integration of migrants in the work force.
This includes promoting female entrepreneurship, reducing the gender gap in
employment levels and working with Member States concerning the availability of
affordable high-quality child care and other policies which aim to improve
work-life balance.
In addition, work-life balance policies aimed at increasing women’s
participation in the labour market may contribute to the achievement of another
headline target of the Europe 2020 Strategy: the reduction in the number of
Europeans living below the national poverty lines, taking woman into
consideration as they face a higher poverty risk.
The “Guidelines for the employment policies of the Member States”, adopted
by the Council in 2015 and which are part of the “Europe 2020 integrated
guidelines”, also outline, in this regard, the importance of the implementation,
assessment and follow up of employment policies that promote gender equality
and work-life balance42.
41 Retrieved from http://ec.europa.eu/europe2020/europe-2020-in-a-nutshell/priorities/index_
en.htm [15 January 2017].
42 Council Decision (EU) 2015/1848 of 5 October 2015 on guidelines for the employment policies
of the Member States for 2015, , OJ L 268/28, 15/10/2015. Retrieved from http://ec.europa.eu/
europe2020/pdf/eu2020_20151005_employment.pdf [15 January 2017]. According to Guideline 6
(Enhancing labour supply, skills and competences) thereof, “Female participation in the labour market
should be increased and gender equality must be ensured, including through equal pay. The reconciliation
between work and family life should be promoted, in particular access to affordable quality early childhood
education, care services and long-term care”.
78 ISABELA DELIA POPA, VALENTINA LIDIA LUPU
c) Pact for gender equality for the period 2011-2020
The Pact for gender equality for the period 2011 - 202043 urges the European
Union and Member States to work towards achieving equality, ensure equal pay
for equal work and promote the equal participation of women in decision-making
and, in particular: (i) to close the gender gaps in employment and social protection,
including the gender pay gap, with a view to meeting the objectives of the Europe
2020 Strategy, especially in three areas of great relevance to gender equality,
namely employment, education and promoting social inclusion in particular
through the reduction of poverty, thus contributing to the growth potential of the
European labour force; (ii) to promote better work-life balance for women and men
throughout the life-course, so as to enhance gender equality, increase women’s
participation in the labour market and contribute to meeting demographic
challenges; and (iii) to combat all forms of violence against women in order to
ensure their human rights and to achieve gender equality.
Finally, it is worth mentioning that the Pact for gender equality for the period
2011-2020, in order to promote better work-life balance for women and men,
recommends the adoption at national level of three main measures: (i) to improve
the supply of adequate, affordable, high-quality childcare services for children
under the mandatory school age with a view to achieving the objectives set by the
European Council in Barcelona in March 2002, taking into account the demand for
childcare services and in line with national patterns of childcare provision; (ii) to
improve the provision of care facilities for other dependants; (iii) to promote
flexible working arrangements and various forms of leave for both women
and men.
b) Strategy for equality between women and men 2010-2015
The European Commission’s Strategy for equality between women and men
2010-201544 is a comprehensive framework committing the Commission to
promote gender equality into all its policies for the following thematic priorities: (i)
equal economic independence; (ii) equal pay for equal work or work of equal
value; (iii) equality in decision-making; (iv) dignity, integrity and ending
gender-based violence; (v) gender equality in external actions; (vi) horizontal
issues such as gender roles, legislation and governance.
43 Council conclusions of 7 March 2011 on European Pact for Gender Equality (2011-2020), OJ C
155, 25/05/2011 [hereinafter Pact for gender equality for the period 2011 - 2020]. Retrieved from
http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A52011XG0525(01) [15 January
2017].
44 Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European
Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions Strategy for equality b etween women
and men 2010-2015, not published in the Official Journal. Retrieved from http://eur-lex.europa.eu/
legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=celex:52010DC0491 [15 January 2017].
Gender mainstreaming and work-life balance 79
IV. Romanian National Legislation on Gender Equality and Work-Life
Balance
In 2007, Romania joined the European Union, which had significantly
contributed to the evolution of gender equality law, including by adopting
measures regarding equal opportunities for women and men, combating sex-based
discrimination and domestic violence.
Although general equal opportunities for women and men exists (in terms of
legislation), Romania has no yet developed a consolidated legislation regarding the
reconciliation of professional and private/family life45. However, it should be
mentioned that, in the context of the severe imbalances induced by the economic
crises, there have been several recent legal developments with significant impact
on the area of work-life balance, as further detailed.
1. Maternity, paternity, parental and related leaves
The types of leaves aiming to facilitate the reconciliation of work and family
life in Romania are: maternal risk leave, maternity leave, paternity leave, parental
leave, leave to take care of a sick child or a handicapped child, paid days off for
exceptional family events and unpaid leave to solve personal matters.
1.1 Maternal risk and maternity leave
These types of leaves are established by G.E.O. no. 96/2003 on maternity
protection at work46 and G.E.O. no. 158/2005 regarding sick leave and medical
allowance47.
a) Maternal risk leave may be granted to pregnant or postpartum women who
are not on maternity leave and whose employer cannot guarantee them working
conditions that are free of risks to their health or that of the child. Maternal risk
allowance may be granted for up to 120 days before and after maternity leave on
the recommendation of a family doctor or obstetrician and gynaecologist. Maternal
risk allowance is equal to 75 % of the mother's average monthly income over the
last 6 months before the benefit was requested48.
45 In a 2014, the European Commission conducted a comparative study on family-related work
schedule flexibility across Europe, namely “Gender equality in the workforce: Reconcili ng work, private and
family life in Europe” (retrieved from http://ec.europa.eu/justice/gender-equality/files/documents/
140502_gender_equality_workforce_ssr_en.pdf [15 January 2017]). According to the study, Romania
ranks last in the EU28. Essentially, fewer than 10% of employees can vary the start or end of the
working day and fewer than 5% can take whole days off. With respect to the possibility to vary the
start and/or the end times of the working day, in Romania there is a significant gender gap, men
having a bigger advantage in this respect.
46 Government Emergency Ordinance no. 96/2003 on maternity protection at w ork, Official
Gazette of Romania Part. I, no. 750 dated 27/10/2003, as further completed and amended [hereinafter
G.E.O. no. 96/2003 on maternity protection at work].
47 Government Emergency Ordinance no. 158/2005 regarding the sick leave and medical
allowance, Official Gazette of Romania Part I, no. 1074 dated 29/11/2005, as further completed and
amended [hereinafter G.E.O. no. 158/2005 regarding sick leave and medical allowance].
48 Art. 31 of the G.E.O. no. 158/2005, corroborated with art. 10 of the G.E.O. no. 96/2003.
80 ISABELA DELIA POPA, VALENTINA LIDIA LUPU
b) Maternity leave is granted for a total of 126 calendar days, out of which 63
days of leave before the birth (antenatal leave) and 63 days after the child is born
(postnatal leave). The first 42 days of leave after the child is born are compulsory.
The remaining 84 days need not be taken if the mother does not feel that she needs
them or can be taken earlier, before birth or later, after birth. Maternity allowance
is equal to 85 % of the average monthly income earned by the mother during the
last 6 months prior to maternity leave. This allowance is paid for the 126 days of
maternity leave, even if the child is stillborn49.
1.2. The paternal leave
Law no. 210/199950 and G.D. no. 244/ 200051 represent the Romanian legal
framework regulating the paternal leave. In brief, according to the aforementioned
legal framework, fathers are entitled to benefit of the paternal leave for a period of
5 working days, anytime during the first 8 weeks after the child’s birth52.
1.3. Parental leave
The parental leave had been subject to intense legislative changes in Romania.
The G.E.O no. 111/201053, which regulates the parental leave, was significantly
amended in 201654, which set new (and more favourable) rules and conditions to
parents eligible to benefit from the parental leave.
Basically, according to the Romanian legislation currently in force, the parental
leave is non-transferable and at least one month should be taken by the other
parent (usually, the father of the child). Moreover, if the parent decides, during
parental leave, to return to work, the parental leave is suspended and the other
parent may opt to take the rest of the parental leave chosen by the returning parent
only if he/she qualifies for it.
Also, the Romanian legislation expressly protects workers against less
favourable treatment or dismissal on the grounds of an application for, or the
taking of, parental leave. Specifically, the law forbids any dismissal of employees
who are on parental leave, employees who are being paid the incentive for coming
49 Art. 23 – 25 of the G.E.O no. 158/2005, corroborated with art. 2 letter g) of the G.E.O.
no. 96/2003.
50 Law no. 210/1999 regarding the parental leave, Official Gazette of Romania Part I, no. 654
dated 31/12/1999, as further completed and amended [hereinafter Law no. 210/1999].
51 Government Decision no. 244/2000 approving the Methodological Norms for the application
of the Law no. 210/1999, Official Gazette of Romania Part I, no. 150 dated 11/04/2000 [hereinafter
G.D. no. 244/2000].
52 Art. 1 and art. 2 of the Law no. 210/1999, corroborated with art. 1 and art. 2 of the G.D.
no. 244/2000.
53 Government Emergency Ordinance no. 111/2010, Official Gazette of Romania Part I, no. 830
dated 10/12/2010, as completed and amended [hereinafter G.E.O. no. 111/2010].
54 G.E.O. no. 111/2010 was significantly amended by Law no. 66/2016, Official Gazette of
Romania Part I, no. 304 dated 20/04/2016 [hereinafter Law no. 66/2016].
Gender mainstreaming and work-life balance 81
back to work before the child is two years old, or employees who are in the
six-month period after returning to work from parental leave. The only exception
to this rule is when the company is being declared insolvent or bankrupt.
Likewise, it should be noted that the Romanian legislation55 grants a person
taking parental leave the right to return to the same job or, if this is not possible, to
an equivalent or similar job consistent with their employment contract or
relationship.
The novelties brought by Law no. 66/2016 referred to the following:
a) The increase of the minimum monthly allowance for child growth leave: according
to the new law, the monthly allowance is established in the amount of 85% of the
net average income in the last 12 months from the last 2 years prior to the child’s
birth and can’t be less than 85% of the gross national minimum wage guaranteed56.
Thus, the monthly allowance will be reported at the gross minimum wage,
specifying only a minimum limit, not a maximum one, as it happened before the
enforcement of Law no. 66/2016.
b) The length of parental leave: up until mid-2016, parents opted either for
parental leave of 1 (one) year or for parental leave of almost 2 (two) years57. From
July 1st, 2016, things changed. Under the new regulations, parents will benefit from
a single length of parental leave, until the child reaches two years58.
c) The insertion incentive: parents benefitting from parental leave, who will start
working before the end of the parental leave, will be entitled to receive – up to the
end of the statutory duration of 2 (two) years of the parental leave - a monthly
incentive insertion of 50% of the minimum allowance provided by the law59.
1.4. Parental care leave (ill or handicapped children)
As per the provisions of G.E.O. no. 111/2010, as amended by Law. No.
66/2016, the parent who meets the eligibility conditions prescribed by law will
benefit of childcare leave until the ill child reaches the age of 3 / the handicapped
child reaches the age of 4, as the case may be, and the related allowance will be
paid in the amount of 85% of the average net revenue achieved in the last 12
months.
2. Equal opportunities between women and men at the workplace
The principles of equality of opportunity for men and women are addressed in
Law no. 202/200260, adopting the acquis communitaire addressing this matter. Law
55 Law no. 202/2002 regarding equal opportunities between women or men, Official Gazette of
Romania Part I, no. 326 dated 05/06/2013 (republished), as further amended and completed
[hereinafter Law no. 202/2002].
56 Art. I item 3 of the Law no. 66/2016.
57 Specifically, until the child reaches 2 (two) years of age.
58 Art. I item 1 of the Law no. 66/2016.
59 At present, the insertion incentive is in amount of approximately EUR 130.
60 Supra, footnote 55.
82 ISABELA DELIA POPA, VALENTINA LIDIA LUPU
no. 202/2002 expressly forbids any kind of discrimination in recruiting or hiring
for any management position and protecting parental leave61. However, the said
law does not contain provisions that refers even implicitly to any aspect connected
to work-life conciliation.
The 2010-2012 National Strategy for equality between women and men,
adopted by the Romanian Government through G.D. no. 237/201062, recognized
that gender equality on the labour market remains problematic and identified as
priorities for action policies directed at reducing the gender pay gap and a better
balance between work and family.
The 2014-2017 National Strategy for equality between women and men,
adopted by the Romanian Government through G.D. no. 1050/201463, is more
shaped in its approach to labour market gender imbalances64. Likewise the former
strategy, the 2014-2017 National Strategy for equality between women and men
sets out the equality objectives in the labour market: (i) promoting gender
perspective in employment policies, mobility and labour migration; (ii) increasing
awareness about the legal provisions of equal opportunities between women and
men; (iii) increasing awareness on the gender pay gap; (iv) increasing awareness
on reconciling work and family life and private; (iv) promoting the labour market
integration of women vulnerable to discrimination.
To achieve the reconciliation of work and family life, the 2014-2017 National
Strategy for equality between women and men sets out several actions, such as65:
a) To organize trainings and awareness seminars in the area of equality
between men and women, meant for the labour inspectors, who ensure the
implementation and compliance with the legal provisions on equal opportunities
and equal treatment between men and women, according to the tasks provided for
therein.
61 An entire chapter of Law no. 202/2002 (Chapter 2) is dedicated to this aspect.
62 Government Decision no. 237/2010 approving The 2010-2012 National Strategy for equality
between women and men, as well as the General Action Plan for the implementation of The 2010-2012
National Strategy for equality between women and men, Official Gazette o f Romania Part. I, no. 242
dated 15/04/2010.
63 Government Decision no. 1050/2014 approving The 2014 – 2017 National Strategy for equality
between women and men, as well as the General Action Plan for 2014 – 2017 for the implementation
of the Strategy, Official Gazette of Romania Part I, no. 890 dated 08/12/2014.
64 Chapter 2 of the 2014 – 2017 Strategy provides as follows: ”A balanced partici pation on the labour
market of both women and men - in terms of occupation, payment, promotion and participation to continuous
learning – is strongly connected to the family context. For these reasons it appears the need to implement certain
coherent policies that would stimulate this process of balancing the professional life with the family life and the
private life. The approach for this issue should take into account not only the economical dimension, but also the
socio – cultural one within which are perpetuated gender st ereotypes, which, most of the time, lead to an unequal
distribution of the economic power in the society and to a limitation of the women’s access to different social lif e
spheres, for example, in certain professional areas considered naturally masculine. [...]”
65 Chapter VII, item 2.1. of The 2014 – 2017 National Strategy for equality between women and
men, supra, footnote 63.
Gender mainstreaming and work-life balance 83
b) To conduct a study in order to identify and assess the gender discrimination
situations that interfere in the professional development process, with two
components: (a) equal access to promotion for women who return to work after
extended periods of leave for childcare and for other dependent family members;
and (b) a set of recommendations for the improvement and completion of the
legislative framework and of the practices used by the human resources
departments.
3. Flexible working time
Flexible working hours for parents are regulated in the Romanian Labour
Code66 in order to endure a greater flexibility of the labour market. An entire
chapter of the Romanian Labour Code is dedicated to the working time and rest
period, mainly regulating the following:
Working time is defined as “any period” during which the employee
performs the work in favour of the employer (art. 111);
The length of the working time for the full-time employees is of eight hours
per day and 40 hours per week (art. 112 para. 1);
As a rule, distribution of the working time within the week shall be uniform,
of eight hours per day for five days, with 2 days of rest (art. 113 para. 1). However,
according to the specific features of the organization or activity performed, an
unequal distribution of the working time may be chosen, while observing the
normal length of the working time of 40 hours per week (art. 113 para. 2);
It should be noted that the actual organization of the unequal work schedule
within the working week of 40 hours, and within the compressed workweek, shall
be negotiated in the collective labour agreement at the level of the employer or, in
its absence, shall be provided in the internal regulation of the employer company
(art. 116 para. 1). An unequal work schedule shall only operate if expressly stated
in the individual labour contract (art. 116 para. 2);
With the agreement or at the request of the concerned employee, an
employer may establish individualized work schedules (art. 118 para. 1).
Individualized work schedule implies a flexible organization of the working time
(118 para. 2), in the sense that the length of the working time is divided into two
main periods:
a fixed period, when the entire personnel is simultaneously present at the
workplace, and a variable period, when the employee chooses the time of arrival to
and departure from work, in compliance with the daily working time (art. 118
para. 3).
Also, according to the provisions of G.E.O. no. 96/2003 on maternity
protection at work67, any pregnant employee who, due to health reasons related to
66 Law no. 53/2003 on the Labour Code, Official Gazette of Romania Part I, no. 345 dated
18/05/2011 (republished), as further amended and completed [hereinafter Romanian Labour Code].
67 Supra, footnote 43, art. 13.
84 ISABELA DELIA POPA, VALENTINA LIDIA LUPU
their person or to the unborn child, cannot work full 8 hours, has the right to
diminish the working hours, by one quarter, while maintaining full payment, from
the salary fund of the employer, in accordance with the legal provisions in force.
The employers are compelled to allow two breaks, one hour each, for the
women breastfeeding their infants up to the age of one. These breaks include the
time necessary to go and return from the place where the infant is. Upon the
request of employee mothers, these breaks for breastfeeding may be substituted by
reducing the working time by two hours daily. The breastfeeding breaks and the
shortened working hours, on grounds of breastfeeding, are included in the
working time and have no financial impact on the wage of the employees, which is
paid entirely from the salary fund of the employer68.
As already stated above69, in terms of family-related work schedule flexibility,
Romania ranks last in EU28. Recent study70 reveals that young Romanians work
very long hours, in the sense that the overall number of weekly working hours for
young people is 42.4 (40 hours is the legal weekly working time), while
approximately 25% of young people in employment report working 50 hours a
week. From this perspective, one may assess that the work-life balance desiderate
is profoundly affected. According to the data released by the Romanian National
Institute of Statistics, the birth rate in Romania in 2013 was the lowest since WWII71
and the current numbers follow this trend.
4. Workplace flexibility: working at home and teleworking
Romania has not yet adopted any specific legislation on telework. Also, so far,
this type of work had not been covered by collective agreements. Nevertheless, it
appears that this kind of work organisation is more preferred both by employers
and employees, despite the lack of legislative support. Therefore, from this point of
view, Romanian employees do not benefit from any flexibility. As a novelty, it is
worth mentioning that a legislative initiative amending the Labour Code,
introducing the concept of "teleworking", has been tacitly endorsed by the
Romanian Senate and is to the stages of the legislative process in the Romanian
Chamber of Deputies. The Romanian Labour Code only regulates the possibility to
work at home, dedicating an entire chapter to this aspect72. Specifically, employees
working at home are the employees who accomplish at home the tasks specific to
68 Art. 17 of the G.E.O. no. 96/2003 on maternity protection at work.
69 Supra, footnote 45.
70 2014 Survey carried out by Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung România (FES) and Centrul de Sociologie
Urban și Regional (CURS). Retrieved from http://www.fes.ro/media/2014_news/Raport-FES-
Tineri_in_Romania.pdf [15 January 2017].
71 Stroe D., Romania’s birth rate, the lowest since WWII, retrieved from http:// www.balkaneu.com/
romanias-birth-rate-lowest-wwii/ [15 January 2017].
72 Chapter IX (Work at home), comprising art. 108 – art. 110, of the Romanian Labour Code.
Gender mainstreaming and work-life balance 85
their jobs, during a working schedule that they establish. The employer has the
right to check on their activity, based on the conditions stipulated in the individual
work contract. The individual labour agreement to be concluded with the
employees working at home needs to be concluded in written form and must
expressly provide the following: the clear specification that the employee works at
home, the specific form under which the employer has the right to monitor the
activity, and the practical modalities for control.
V. Political Commitment in Terms of Work Life Balance
As noted above, political commitment to gender equality and work-life
balance has increased over the past years both at EU and national levels. However,
this commitment needs to be transformed into action and progress.
Dedicated policies and measures are required to achieve a better work life
balance and gender equality, namely:
- gender equality must be developed, including in terms of gender equality in
employment and changing role models of women and men;
- affordable, accessible and quality care services for children and other
dependants must be developed;
- flexible working and leave arrangements must be upgraded;
- family-friendly policies must be implemented in the workplace;
- workplace flexibility must be enshrined into legislation.
In conclusion, the complexity of the issues outlined above and the wide range
of policies involved require an integrated approach to reconciling family life,
private life and professional life and mainstreaming gender equality.