Global Employment Law

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Global Employment Law

Global Employment Law


Parental leave is defined by the International Labor Organization (ILO) as “leave granted to fathers and mothers during a period after the termination of maternity leave to enable parents in employment to look after their newborn child for a certain time, whilst giving them some degree of security in respect of employment, social security and remuneration. Parental leave is also granted to adoptive parents.” This definition states the co-responsibility of parents, both natural and adoptive. Parental leave differs from maternity leave because it is focused on the care and upbringing of young children, making both parents eligible for the benefit.

The ILO on Parental Leave

The Employment of Women with Family Responsibilities Recommendation 1965 (No. 123) was adopted to protect the rights of women workers. It sought to institute measures such as childcare services and facilities, and appropriate counseling, placement, and training, to enable parents to enter or renter employment after comparatively long absences due to family responsibilities. The International Labor Conference (1975) recommended that gender equality of opportunity and treatment could only be achieved by extending rights to all workers with family responsibilities, both women and men. This was in recognition that any change in the traditional role of women needs to include change in the traditional role of men. Such a development would be a move toward an enhanced status for the exercise of parental duties. The availability of parental leave would be a contributory factor in this development (Yam, 1997).

The ILO Convention 1981 No. 156 and Recommendation 1981 (No. 165) set out the rationale for Equal Opportunities and Equal Treatment for Men and Women Workers with Family Responsibilities. This convention was adopted to extend the concept of a gender balance in parental responsibility. The convention applies to all workers with children and other immediate family members who need support. Article 3 states that national policies should ensure that workers with family responsibilities should not be subject to discrimination or conflict between their employment and family roles. Article 8 states that family responsibilities should not constitute a valid reason for termination of employment. Other articles invoke measures that enable workers to exercise free choice within the context of the prevailing national policies of each country. Articles reference the requirement that public authorities in each country should make available information and education designed to create a climate of opinion that is conducive to assisting workers with family responsibilities.

Characteristics of the Danish Labour Market

Historically, the labour market parties, i.e. the trade unions and the employers' associations, have played a very active and significant role in the development of the labour market. In 1899, the employers' associations formally acknowledged the workers' right to organise in trade unions, and, in return, the trade unions acknowledged the employers' right of management. This is referred to as the September Compromise. The September Compromise is still considered the foundation of the labour market today where the vast majority of employment terms and working conditions are determined by agreement between ...
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