There is a clear and direct link between difficulties in combining family life, private life and professional life, and poverty and social exclusion. Reconciliation policies are key to any wider policy to tackle and prevent poverty and social exclusion.
Quality employment (decent wage, job security, working conditions respectful of family life) is a precondition to any reconciliation measures. Active inclusion strategies must take into account this qualitative dimension of work and ensure that reconciliation opportunities do exist.
The value of activities pursued during family, private and social times must be given social recognition through the integration of these times in working time and societal time. To this effect:
Leave schemes meeting the variety of family needs must be enshrined into legislation for all categories of workers irrespective of their professional status or activity, and these schemes must encompass security aspects (job protection, adequate pay, continuity of social security/employment rights) and flexibility;
Part-time work must be upgraded (pay, social rights, status on the labour market, rules for the calculation and payment of overtime hours brought in line with full-time work, etc.);
Flexible working time arrangements must be further promoted, with a strict protection of employment and social security rights;
Public times must be coordinated;
Gender equality must be furthered, including in terms of gender equality in employment and changing role models of women and men.
Families must be offered access to a wide array of services meeting the variety of families’ needs, and in particular diversified childcare services and services for other dependant persons. If these services are to deliver their full potential in the fight against poverty and social exclusion, they must be:
Provided in sufficient quantity, with ambitious objectives set at EU level;
Be open to all without discrimination against, in particular, migrants, ethnic minorities and people with disabilities;
Tailored to meet the specific needs of the most disadvantaged groups;
Tailored to be immediately available when unemployed parents are offered a training or a job;
Be affordable for all thanks to public and private financial support and adequate means-testing taking into account for each family the number of children in childcare;
Quality services, offering quality jobs to their staff;
and the implementation of those principles must be effective.
Reconciliation of family life, private life and professional life be mainstreamed across all relevant policies (employment, social services, social security, education, etc.) at EU and national level. At the local level, alliances for families must be created to involve all stakeholders in the design of family-friendly policies, and in particular work-life balance oriented policies.
Published on 09 Nov 2011
Updated on 30 Nov 2012