Family and Reconciliation
Reconciliation of family and work has been on the forefront of family policy discussions in Germany and across Europe. Reconciling family and work is a double-edged issue that needs to be approached from two directions: time for work and time for the family, the latter one meaning more time for childcare or care for relatives. The focus of reconciliation policies on mothers has recently widened to include also fathers and caring relatives. Reconciliation can be supported through more time for work. Formal childcare, for instance public childcare institutions, plays a central role here. On the other hand, parental and care leave schemes offer more time for the family. The latter aspect is part of the European Commission’s Work-Life Balance package. The Commission hereby intends to set a fresh impulse on European level.
ChildcareChildcare is a key factor in enabling parents to participate in gainful employment and in family work simultaneously. A good care infrastructure as well as trust in the care facilities are crucial for parents to find a balance between work and care responsibilities. Additionally, early childhood education and care also has a decisive relevance for children and their development. The Observatory shows how initiatives on the European level as well as national and regional measures and legislation are aiming at improving access to high-quality childcare for all children.
Father involvement in family workFathers all over Europe wish to get more involved in family work – and they are expected to do so. The work-life balance package of the European Commission aims to promote father involvement. Across Europe there are many policy measures to support this aim: father specific leave month with income replacement, flexibility in the use of parental leave, and paternity leave. The Observatory shows how these policies can be designed and what effects they have.
Reconciliation of elderly care and work
More and more people work and at the same time care for their relatives. How do policies support these people to handle this double burden? The Observatory takes up this question and conducts comprehensive research on the issue. A European Expert Meeting addressed this topic. The research focuses on leave and financial support for family caregivers.
Documentation of the European Expert Meeting on 4 and 5 September 2017 in Berlin.
80 percent of care in Europe is provided by informal caregivers. Family carers are especially reliant on information and counselling on care issues. Furthermore, they should have access to information about their rights as carers. Advice and support for family carers can positively contribute to their own health and can prevent them from becoming overburdened. The expertise “Young Carers – Support measures in Austria, the United Kingdom and Ireland” shows furthermore that many children and adolescents are caregivers who would be highly benefited from support and advice.