Research published on family-friendly working places during economic crisis

Date: 8th May 2013
Category: Family Environment and Alternative Care

A survey investigating family-friendly working policies in companies in six European countries (France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Sweden, UK) finds that employers take family-friendly working seriously and have put in place a range of policies to support this, especially in areas such as flexible working and parental support.

'The European company survey on the reconciliation of work and family life 2010', commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth and Robert Bosch Stiftung, was conducted by the Cologne Institute for Economic Research. The survey provides a detailed description and analysis of family-friendly policies implemented by companies in six European countries - France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Sweden and the UK. Together these countries account for around 63% of the EU27 population and 68% of its gross domestic product (GDP).

The results of this survey are timely in the context of EU attempts to encourage women to enter and remain in the labour market, and to ensure good quality employment for all. The survey is also relevant to the European debate on demographic trends, specifically an ageing workforce, which require increased labour market participation from all those of working age.
Many employers report that it is difficult to recruit and retain employees who have the right kinds of skills and qualifications. Providing flexibility in terms of enabling staff to better balance their work and family life is therefore of benefit to both employers and employees.

The main driver for family-friendly working in most countries was compliance with legislation or collective agreements. The study has found that the economic crisis has had little impact on the provision of family-friendly working policies.