Several OECD member state parliaments have adopted family-friendly provisions to promote work-life balance. The Danish parliament does not allow voting after 7:00pm on sitting days, while Sweden’s parliament tries to avoid evening voting as well as votes held on Mondays and Fridays. In Finland, a motion was introduced to limit plenary sessions and parliamentary debates. The Swiss parliament has taken steps to align sittings with the school calendar and holidays.
Though civil service parental leave is usually provided only to parliamentary staff, some parliaments have adopted initiatives to introduce maternity, paternity or parental leave provisions. Israel’s Knesset allows either parent to take 12 weeks of fully paid leave upon the birth of a child. The parliaments of Denmark, Estonia, Iceland and the Netherlands allow for substitution of parliamentarians on leave, while the Portuguese parliament provides for ‘temporary substitution’ without loss of pay for parliamentarians taking maternity or paternity leave. The Australian House of Representatives allows for proxy voting in cases where women are breastfeeding at the same time a vote is called, following a report undertaken by the Procedure Committee on Options for Nursing Mothers.
A number of parliaments have established crèche or childcare facilities. Both the Swedish and German parliaments provide crèche facilities for all parliamentary members and staff. Scotland’s parliament has opened their daycare facilities to the children of members of the public visiting the premises. In Japan, the Secretariats of the House of Representatives and the House of Councillors have their own action plans to promote women’s participation among their staff members and to support their child rearing.
Some parliaments have addressed different forms of gender-based harassment through policies, codes of conduct or specific resolutions. The Canadian Senate has adopted the Policy on Prevention and Resolution of Harassment in the Workplace that applies to all members and staff. The Scottish parliament’s code of conduct requires that parliamentarians treat each other with dignity and respect, and states that “bullying and harassment, including any allegation of sexual harassment, will be taken seriously and investigated.”
In Mexico, parliamentary members of staff who experience harassment can file a complaint with the Bureau of the Senate, which in turn coordinates with judicial units to redress such incidences. Mexico has also developed a single protocol for the prevention, attention and sanction of sexual harassment which contains specific regulations and preventive actions to promote an institutional culture of gender equality, a work environment free of violence and gender stereotypes, to contribute to access to justice and to inhibit any form of sexual harassment. The Slovenian, Swedish, and Luxembourgish parliaments have adopted sexual harassment provisions, and both of the latter parliaments also include grievance procedures for redress. The parliaments in Sweden and Luxembourg have also adopted policy provisions to protect the rights of members of the LGBTIQ community.
In Slovenia, the President of the National Assembly can issue warnings when parliamentarians use gender-biased or derogatory language. Likewise, in March 2017, the European Parliament suspended an MEP for his use of sexist language; in addition to a suspension of 10 days, the MEP also lost his daily subsistence allowance for 30 days. Sweden has also adopted gender-related provisions governing cyber-bullying and use of social media.