So, what has Europe ever done for us…?

Karen has returned to France for the summer and here is her first blog of the season… Thoughts of how she felt before the referendum. It’s still a hot topic and will be for some time…

It’s a strange time to be back living and working in France, with the EU referendum result.  Up until last week it was always a given that, as a citizen of a fellow European Union country, that I am welcome and able to live and work here on equal terms.  How will that change after 23 June 2016?

I am not alone as a UK citizen living and working in another EU country.  In Spain alone there are over 1 million UK citizens doing something similar, many of whom have retired there.  For many people this ability to live and work in another country may not be of interest and not something that you ever see yourself doing.  But there are other working life benefits that have come from being part of the EU, some of which may feel more relevant to you.

So what am I referring to?  Let me give you a few examples………….

  • Paid paternity leave, and now shared parental leave (which is paid, rather than unpaid). Both partners / parents can now have time off to spend with their new born or adopted child, not just the mother.
  • The right not to be discriminated against because you are a parent (expectant mother, a maternity leave returner, a working parent etc).
  • Guaranteed paid holiday of at least 30 days per year (including bank holidays). Depending on your age, you may remember the days when there was no such thing or certainly a lot less paid holiday.
  • The right to be part of a trade union, should you want to be.
  • Your employer has to provide you with a safe working environment, with the personal protective equipment (PPE) to keep you safe and allow you regular rest breaks.

There are lots more examples I could cite that we take for granted, and that any good employer would do anyway to keep their employees motivated, healthy and safe, without “Europe telling them to”.

Don’t necessarily believe that all employment legislation that comes out of Europe is “bureaucratic” or Europe “interfering”.  A lot of what current UK workers, not just employees, take for granted happened thanks to Europe.

Perhaps this is something to ponder as the holiday season approaches, when you may be enjoying some paid time off in the Mediterranean sun somewhere (without the need to get an entry visa) …..

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