The right to request flexible working arrangements under the Work-life Balance Directive – A comparative perspective

Lisa Waddington*, Mark Bell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The 2019 Work-life Balance Directive creates a new right for parents and carers to request flexible working arrangements for caring purposes. The significance of this innovation has been heightened by the pandemic because it includes the right to request remote working arrangements. This article undertakes a contextual and comparative analysis in order to understand better the strengths, limitations and opportunities created by the Directive. It compares the right to request flexible working arrangements to provisions found in existing Directives on parental leave and part-time work, as well as protections that may be derived from EU equality law. It looks also at examples of existing legislation in two jurisdictions, the Netherlands and Australia, in order to illustrate the options available to Member States when they implement this right within domestic
law. The article concludes that the full potential of this right can only be understood when it is viewed as part of a wider range of legal provisions that assist in the reconciliation of work and family life.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)508-528
Number of pages21
JournalEuropean Labour Law Journal
Issue number4
Early online date18 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • CARE
  • Flexible working
  • discrimination
  • reasonable accommodation
  • remote working
  • work-life balance

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