Help Print this page 

Summaries of EU Legislation

Title and reference
Childcare - work/life balance for men and women

Summaries of EU legislation: direct access to the main summaries page.
Multilingual display

Childcare - work/life balance for men and women

Recommendation 92/241/EEC on childcare


Council Recommendation 92/241/EEC of 31 March 1992 on childcare (OJ L 123, 8.5.1992, pp. 16-18)



It promotes equal opportunities for mothers and fathers to balance work and family life, by encouraging EU countries to take and/or support initiatives to help parents manage their childcare responsibilities.


The recommendation addresses the following areas:

the provision of childcare services while parents are either working, studying or training or actively seeking work,

special leave for working parents who have children to look after,

making the working environment more responsive to the needs of workers with children,

measures to help both parents share their work and childcare responsibilities.

It recommends that childcare services should:

be reasonably priced,

combine reliable care (healthy and safe) with developmental/educational input,

be able to accommodate children with special needs (e.g. linguistic requirements) and those in single-parent families.

Special leave

To get more women into the labour market, EU countries should encourage initiatives such as special leave, for both mothers and fathers.

Work environment

EU countries governments should take and/or encourage initiatives to:

make work more conducive to childcare, particularly through collective agreements between employers and unions,

ensure decent wages and working conditions for staff working in childcare services,

take action in the public sector that can serve as a model for the rest of the economy.

Sharing responsibilities

EU countries should encourage increased participation by men in childcare duties, to achieve a more equal sharing of parental responsibilities and enable women to have a more effective role in the labour market.

More on EU goals for childcare.


Report from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions: Barcelona objectives - The development of childcare facilities for young children in Europe with a view to sustainable and inclusive growth (COM(2013) 322 final of 29.5.2013)

last update 14.09.2015