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Eurobarometer survey on work-life balance

A Eurobarometer survey was carried out by phone in the 28 Member States on the issue of work-life balance. In this survey, 26,578 respondents were asked about:

  • existing levels of satisfaction with work-life balance;
  • the availability of various types of flexible work arrangements and how they are perceived by employers and fellow workers;
  • Europeans’ preferences for types of flexible work arrangements and how their availability would influence decisions about employment;
  • the rates at which paternity and parental leave are taken, and why this leave is not taken;
  • factors that would encourage more men to avail themselves of their right to take paternity
  • the minimum level of salary at which Europeans would be willing to take family leave;
  • how Europeans currently deal with the work-life balance issues caused by having to take care of family emergencies.

Overall results for Europe include the following:

  • A fifth of Europeans are not satisfied with the balance between their work and personal life;
  • Only four in ten European men have taken paternity leave and even fewer have taken parental leave;
  • A quarter of Europeans say that it is difficult for employees in their workplace to take family leave, and a similar proportion says that employees are usually discouraged from doing so;
  • Not being able to afford parental leave is one of the main reasons for not taking parental leave, especially for workers with care responsibilities;
  • A majority of Europeans would only take family leaves if sufficiently remunerated;
  • Nearly four in ten Europeans would take dependent care leave to look after a sick, disabled or frail relative;
  • Flexible work arrangements are not available for one in three Europeans.

See more in the full report and country fiches here: http://ec.europa.eu/commfrontoffice/publicopinion/index.cfm/survey/getsurveydetail/instruments/flash/surveyky/2185

In the context of the European Pillar of Social Rights, the European Commission has taken action to allow working parents and carers to better advance their careers, while being able to care of their families. The Commission’s Work-Life Balance proposal includes the right for all fathers to take at least 10 days of professional leave around the birth of their child. Paid parental leave would also become a non-transferrable equal right for women and men – a strong incentive for men to use this possibility, rather than asking women to stall their careers for a long period while men return swiftly to work. Ultimately, it will increase the participation of women in the labour market. The negotiations with the European Parliament and Council are on-going, and an agreement is possible by the end of the year.

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