Treib, Oliver and Falkner, Gerda. (2004) The First EU Social Partner Agreement in Practice: Parental Leave in the 15 Member States. IHS Political Science Series: 2004, No. 96. [Working Paper]
In this paper, we analyze the impact of one specific EU social policy measure, the Parental Leave Directive. This Directive is based on the first Euro-collective agreement, concluded in November 1995 by the ETUC, UNICE and CEEP. Contrary to the rather sceptical assessments presented by many observers at the time of its adoption, our in-depth analysis of the Directive's implementation in all 15 member states reveals rather far-reaching effects. The Directive induced significant policy reforms in the majority of member states and thus facilitated the reconciliation of work and family life for many working parents. These effects were not only brought about by compliance with the compulsory minimum standards of the Directive, but also by a considerable number of voluntary reforms. We argue that domestic party politics and processes of policy learning may explain the occurrence of these "unforced" changes, which have hitherto received little attention by Europeanisation scholars.
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