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Working parents, carers: we are going to make a difference in 2014!

PRESS RELEASE

6 January 2014 – COFACE launches 2014 as the Year for Reconciling Work and Family Life in Europe. After two years of campaigning, COFACE, the Confederation of Family Organisations in the European Union and its partners of the 2014 European Year Alliance commit to making a difference in the lives of all families in Europe.

Our approach to Reconciling work and family life is very broad. It is not only about finding the right balance between the time for work and time for the family and private life, but also understanding how the lack of such targeted policies can prevent some women and men from entering the labour market, either due to care responsibilities, or due to lack of available care services for childcare, for a disabled or elderly family member, or why others have to give up their job.

Why such a year? More and more families are finding it difficult to cope with the increasing conflict between their family and work life, we know that

  • Europeans are more dissatisfied with the amount of time they spend with their family than with the amount of time spent at work, family life being more adapted to employment requirements than work arrangements are to family life.
  • The pay difference between women and men is still 16,2% on average in the EU, and that the lack of promotion of work-life balance policies in general and the lack of childcare facilities in particular present a major obstacle to the economic independence of women and their progression towards positions of responsibility.

Being family friendly must be a choice for policy makers in the EU and Members States and is also a responsibility of companies, according to COFACE’s President, Annemie Drieskens. It is a win-win situation: the employees benefiting from family friendly working places (flexible times, tele-work, childcare, carers’ leave schemes) feel more in control of their time and lives, and thus are more loyal and more motivated to perform their job. It pays to strike the balance! Reconciliation is about the equal distribution of work and care responsibilities between women and men.

COFACE is ready to lead the European Year 2014 Alliance to successfully prepare and implement the upcoming European Year. To this end, the members have worked out a Roadmap that outlines their objectives and contents of the year and gives concrete proposals and initiatives.

The year will offer a great opportunity to bring together civil society, social partners and European institutions, who will look for joint viable solutions that benefit all families and businesses.

/ENDS/

For further information, please contact:
Ana Pérez, Communication Manager  +32 2 500 56 93   aperez@coface-eu.org

Note to the editor
COFACE is a network of civil society associations representing the interests of all families. COFACE’s areas of work include social/family policy, education, disability, gender equality, migration, consumer issues, and also protection of children online, privacy, data protection and reflections on technological developments and how they may impact families. More: www.coface-eu.org