COFACE Families Europe joined the ESF authorities of the Thematic Network on Employment to present recent activities. At the meeting in Brussels, we mentioned our work on family carers with COFACE Disability, highlighting the fact that due to the lack of support services, many family carers have to stop their jobs to look after their vulnerable family members (whether older people, child with disability, adolescent with mental health problems, etc). This implies taking punctual or long time-outs from the labour market and making it harder and harder to get back in.
There is a strong gender dimension, since many family carers are still women. COFACE suggested the Thematic Network could examine the specific needs of family carers and the active inclusion support packages they require to get back into work. It is important to acknowledge that many family members do want to fulfil caring roles and they should be supported via different services, while also being able to use flexible work time arrangements so that they can go back at least part-time, etc.
Participating countries in the ESF meeting included Belgium, Croatia, Italy, Greece, Poland, Czech Republic, Spain (Andalusia), Bulgaria, Estonia, and Hungary.