The recognition of work-life balance as one of the principles to be developed within the European Pillar of Social Rights is a positive signal. COFACE Families Europe calls for work-life balance policies and legislation that support families along the life-cycle by guaranteeing a reconciliation policy mix of  (1) sufficient leave schemes and flexible working arrangements for women and men to avoid unnecessary and unwanted drop out or reduction of working hours, (2) setting and monitoring the provision of quality affordable and accessible care services for children, elderly and family members with disabilities and (3) support the revision towards fiscal systems which promote more equality and non-discrimination of different family forms.

Childcare: Having children is a transition point in the lives of fathers and mothers, and a crucial point in the employment path of women, in terms of wages, career advancement and getting hired in the first place. Young women still face discrimination in the workplace because of their potential motherhood and because of the role of primary carer they take later on.

It is very important to provide all children with access to a variety of available, affordable and high-quality childcare services in the communities, including early childhood care and education, emergency childcare, drop-in part-time babysitting services, care services for sick children, multi-purpose childcare facilities, out-of hour’s and out-of school childcare, and employer supported childcare etc. Such services along with a higher level of social protection can reduce the risk of poverty of children and their families. They are essential both to support the healthy development of the child, but also to allow parents, especially women, to sustain or find employment.

Long-term care: We advocate for support to enable family carers to comply with the demands of both their family and working lives simultaneously. COFACE would like to highlight that long-term care should not take place in segregating institutional settings, but in the form of home-based care, or community-based care. People with care or support needs should be provided with a flexible system in which they can use a combination of informal and formal care, and have access among other measures to a personal budget and personal assistance system. The increasing involvement of family carers, as a response to the lack of formal care and the ageing population, undermines the social inclusion and gender equality of those families.

Even though childcare and long-term care are competences of the Member States or regions in some cases, there are still a number of initiatives at EU level, that aim to foster exchange of best practice, linkages to other relevant EU policies, and a more holistic approach to reconciliation measures and policies. Moreover, EU social security coordination legislation covers the portability of such social benefits and services when families move from one country to another.


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