Reconciliation of work and family life policies tend to be seen as specific measures for women, or even more narrowly for young working mothers. This is, however, a discriminatory interpretation of workers’ needs and gives way to ineffective implementation of measures that are needed by all workers, regardless of their gender or family status. It is important that reconciliation policies, may it be flexible working arrangements or tailored service provision, are available to all workers, regardless of their parental status or the age of children since families’ needs for flexibility do not end with the enrollment of children in preschool. Parents of older children and teenagers have to respond to a different but equally important demand for parental presence that requires a certain flexibility.

Reconciliation must not be seen as a parents-only policy: those who care for an older or disabled relative also have specific situations that are legitimate responsibilities outside of paid work and need to be taken into consideration. These needs may be temporary and last for short or longer periods, may incur abruptly or may be linked with the worker’s well-being. Therefore, linking them to a specific family situation (e.g. being parent, carer…) can be limiting and create disparities among employees, that can have negative impact on the working environment. Designing and implementing reconciliation measures is not, and must not be considered as a gesture for women or employees with family responsibilities only, but a profound change in the way of organising work and society.

Developing adequate family leave and flexible work arrangements are essential components of work life balance policies.


Chronology of Actions

2019 12 July: Directive in official journal published 12/13 June: Urging for transposition & EPSCO Council Adoption of the Directive 4 April: Adoption on the directive by European Parliament 15 March: Assessment of the Work-life balance directive 11 March: Open…

Read More
EU Funding To Promote Work-life Balance For All

EU funding to promote Work-life balance for all

The European Structural and Investment Funds, and in particular the European Social Fund, have a crucial role to play in supporting Member-State action. The European Commission has published a selection of best practice examples taken from the 2007-2013 and 2014-2020…

Read More
Transposition Of The EU Work-life Balance Directive

Transposition of the EU work-life balance directive

Our assessment of the EU work-life balance directive published in March has been used to trigger discussions in different circles and at different levels. COFACE members are now invited to assess the impact of the directive in their respective countries.…

Read More
Translate »