Under the work-life balance is understood since the 20th century the possibility of adult working age, at the same time professional and career on the one hand and life in the family and devote the care of children and dependent persons and individuals, taking into account the difficulties that can occur. If areas such as friendships and hobbies are also meant, the more general discussion is about the compatibility of work, private and family life. The English term work-life balance denotes a balance to be striven for in general, also for singles , and is mainly used in relation to operational aspects such as family-friendly working hours and ways to improve individual balance .
Facilitating a balance between different areas of life is seen as an important socio-political challenge, as an operationally relevant topic with regard to economic efficiency and organizational culture, and as a socially, culturally and educationally important topic with regard to the design of family culture. The topic touches on important individual questions of attitude and lifestyle . For historical, cultural or political reasons , the situation in the various countries is very different.
Social and political context
For individual countries, see the compatibility of family and work in individual countries .
While the compatibility of family and work was originally viewed more as the question of whether motherhood and work could be reconciled at all, the social discourse in the industrialized nations developed in the course of emancipation in the direction of how work is related to upbringing for mothers and fathers who can arrange time for children. This discourse is based on the assumption that the parents want or have to work, i.e. that the parental work is subjectively viewed as valuable, for example because it provides satisfaction, creates meaning, promotes social integration, secures economic livelihood or standard of living or because several of these reasons apply.
Falling birth and fertility rates are having an impact on social and family policy as well as labor market policy in some countries . In view of the change in the age structure and the increase in life expectancy in many countries, the care and attention of elderly or dependent relatives is increasingly becoming the focus of interest, including in politics. At the same time, a socio-political debate is taking place and a gradual paradigm shift is taking place with regard to employment models and the underlying social and family model. The extent to which it is desirable for both parents to be partially or fully employed and how support for single parents should be designed is discussed .
Until the 1950s and longer, the wife's unemployment - even in childless marriages - was part of the bourgeois family ideal . Words such as “female double earners” as well as the negative connotation of the term “ key child ” at that time in West Germany pointed to undesirable deviations from the model of women and families.
It has often been assumed that the technical progress of the 20th century will mostly lead to a reduction in working hours and an increase in leisure time. A humanization of the world of work associated with the transition from an industrial to a service society was also forecast. However, these predictions have not yet materialized. On the contrary, a family today tends to make significantly more working hours available to the labor market than they did in the middle of the 20th century. It is said that the current orientation of society and economic constraints have rather led to an increase in consumption , longer working hours and a devaluation of the family area of life.
At the turn of the millennium, the well-being of the child is also a focus of interest. The opinion that preschool children suffer from their mother's work is prevalent especially in the old federal states of the Federal Republic of Germany, and more so than in any other country in the EU . Studies show that the question of whether children derive a disadvantage or an advantage from the situation cannot be answered with “yes” or “no”: The effect of work on the child depends on context factors, in particular the work context the way time and money are used, the quality of non-parental childcare, and the woman's satisfaction with her role . The topic has been the target of an extensive long-term statistical study in the USA since the 1990s.
In some cases, different social groups each represent the point of view of freedom of choice, but with different emphasis: one side emphasizes the possibility of gainful employment with children, the other emphasizes the freedom to choose the traditional form of family. This social and political debate is always about the consequences of the models for society, such as economic effects.
Today, the compatibility of family and work is one of the central challenges of employment and social policy in Europe and in the individual European countries. B. Germany, Austria and Switzerland. In Germany , infrastructure measures in combination with changes in family-related transfer payments and taxation are particularly cited as being essential for reducing child and family poverty. The compatibility of family and work is also closely related to the goal of equality between men and women in society in terms of family and work.
Gender-cultural family models
A relaxation of rigid gender roles has been observed in industrialized nations since the middle to the end of the 20th century . Socio-cultural conditions of the family in different countries can be examined by distinguishing according to the way in which the tasks of employment and responsibility for family work are divided. The sociologist Birgit Pfau-Effinger typified the following models of parental role distribution in employment and family, also known as "gender-cultural family models":
- Family economic model - both parents work in their own agricultural or small-scale business.
- Traditional bourgeois model , also known as housewife marriage , care marriage , (male) breadwinner model or single-income model - distribution of roles in which the man works full-time and the woman has sole or almost sole responsibility for family work.
- Modernized bourgeois model , also Zuverdienermodell (or Zuverdienerinmodell ), compatibility model of the breadwinner or modernized (male) breadwinner model called - roles in which the husband is working full time and the woman part-time working and at the same time the sole or almost sole responsibility for family work Has.
- Egalitarian-employment-related model , also known as a double -provider model with external childcare - distribution of roles in which both parents are employed full-time and external childcare is predominantly used.
- Egalitarian-family-related model , also known as the double carer / double carer model - distribution of roles in which both parents work part-time in almost equal proportions and share responsibility for family work as partners.
The terminology "traditional" here refers to a common model within the bourgeois tradition. With this type of typification, Pfau-Effinger's models (2.) and (3.) were considered limited to the male breadwinner model and the modernized male breadwinner model, since these are the more common forms; Models with the opposite distribution of roles and same-sex partnerships were largely disregarded. The models (4.) and (5.) are also more generally summarized as "partnership models" or " dual provider models" . The distinction between the five models was taken as a starting point for a typification of countries or welfare regimes according to the way in which gender role models are reproduced, tightened or toned down. In particular, the proximity or distance to the male breadwinner model was used as a criterion for this.
With the above-mentioned distinction between family models, it is clear that the realities in families often mean modifications of these models, mixed forms or chronological sequences of different phases; In addition, the typification listed here only refers to the type of family in which two parents and children live together.
The division of labor in the partnership is the subject of numerous studies. According to German studies, women spend significantly more time on housework and family work than men. A clear gender-specific division according to the type of work can be observed. Even if individual tasks are delegated to other people or institutions, the task of organizing the housework and family work usually lies with the woman.
With increasing equality of opportunity for both genders, women also increasingly want and expect financial and professional independence. In connection with the high divorce rate , the changing regulations on maintenance and the discussion about possible changes to the widow's / widower's pension, this expectation is increasingly being brought to her by society. The pluralization of family forms with an increasing number of blended and single-parent families requires social adjustments in order to avoid excessive financial demands on the parents who pay the maintenance or the social systems and at the same time to ensure an adequate livelihood for everyone. It is increasingly seen as important that all people who are able to work can earn their living independently in the medium and long term. A professional activity of both partners serves not only the current financial advantage and the professional interest, but also to secure the future. This relates to the later retirement pension , but also to cases of unemployment, incapacity for work or separation, because when both partners are gainfully employed, there is less dependence on state support or maintenance payments. In many families it is economically hardly possible for one parent to devote himself entirely to housework and family work - for an increasing number of households at the beginning of the 21st century, an income from work alone is no longer sufficient to support a family.
There is also a desire among men to move away from traditional roles. The fathers movement advocates equal treatment of mother and father roles. Especially after a separation or divorce, fathers often struggle to take on responsibility for raising children. In this situation, men with a low income and educational level are particularly likely to lose contact with their children. The reasons that fathers rarely reduce their working hours for family work include financial disadvantages due to differences in wages between men and women, a lack of part-time positions for higher positions, and a profit-oriented corporation that does not take the family needs of employees into account.
A return to traditions of roles is often studies after the birth of the first child instead: even in previously largely egalitarian roles of both partners, especially the views of men are again traditional after birth, while the women remain egalitarian; this often leads to tension in the partnership. For Germany, three triggering factors are highlighted: "First, the mother's return to work as a risk of poverty, second, the coordination of the professional development of both parents as excessive demands, and third, gender-specific interpretations of childcare and housework". The fact that employment patterns are strongly influenced by gender can be seen in the part-time rates, which across Europe are far lower among men than among women.
In countries designated as “conservative”, in which the traditional and the modernized bourgeois model predominate, the social discourse as well as individual decision-making is always about maintaining or changing a culturally anchored ideal of a family in which the Mother (or father) regularly spends at least half the day with the family. In support of traditional models, it is argued, among other things, for recognition of private work in the form of an educational salary, possibly with support for re-entry for those returning to work .
A variant of the egalitarian model is characterized by the fact that parents work staggered and so - through flexible working hours or time shifts - one person each has time to raise their children.
For the economic growth of the EU in the face of increasing globalization, an increase in the female employment rate , in particular better use of the labor of well-trained women through a better work-life balance, and an increase in the birth rate are decisive factors. According to a publication by the Cologne Institute for Economic Research, a higher level of education and income tends to be associated with a lower number of children for women, while the relationship is the other way around for men. From an economic point of view, this can be explained by higher opportunity costs caused by parenthood (loss of income or loss of career opportunities). Promoting the compatibility of family and work, which reduces these opportunity costs, represents an opportunity to pursue two goals at the same time: an increase in the number of well-trained workers available to the labor market and an increase in the birth rate. These factors are considered to be important for financing retirement and avoiding a shortage of skilled workers .
The BMFSFJ cites positive effects on economic performance, international competitiveness , domestic demand and labor as well as a reduction in non-wage costs and savings in social insurance as further expected consequences of a better compatibility . Attention is also drawn to the perspective that an increase in female employment could lead to an increase in jobs due to the expected demand for more services, especially in the service sector . For example, the media reported in 2010 that family-unfriendly working conditions at hospitals in Germany (with numerous, often unforeseen overtime hours, compulsory night and weekend shifts and rigid organization) made part-time work more difficult and thus worsened the shortage of doctors at German clinics. With a better compatibility there is also the hope of a reduction in poverty , although a job does not guarantee prosperity, as the number of working poor shows. Economic cost-benefit analyzes of measures to improve compatibility are difficult to carry out, as the example of corresponding analyzes in the field of childcare shows. A business benefit of family-friendly measures in the workplace has been proven many times.
In terms of supply and demand , the demographic development of the conventional industrial nations at the beginning of the 21st century, which requires the mobilization of unused labor potential, strengthens the negotiating position of qualified employees and job seekers on the labor market . This can influence both wage negotiations and the negotiation of family-friendly working conditions. In many cases, however, job seekers refrain from showing an interest in family-friendly working conditions in order to have a better chance of applying. Conversely, in the case of an economic recession , for example, high unemployment represents a means of pressure on the part of employers to orient themselves more closely to the requirements of the company. Overall, however, in times of crisis, there is also talk of a win-win situation between employees and employers with regard to reconciliation measures, since long-term employee loyalty could prevent a future shortage of skilled workers.
In the report of the German Ministry of Family Affairs, it is pointed out that interruptions in employment as a result of economic crises and part-time work have long-term effects on life income. Open societies are characterized by the fact that educational qualifications are not tied to age limits and family-related interruptions are not assessed negatively by the companies. If women make a significant contribution to the family support and not just “ additional earnings ”, this leads to more stable financial conditions, especially in times of crisis, and thus to a lower need for state social benefits.
The Third Poverty and Wealth Report emphasized that in Germany child benefit, which covers a third of the average expenses incurred for a child, becomes more important for families as the number of children increases, because the fixed costs increase with the number of children and at the same time are opportunities of both parents is less likely to be gainfully employed, since the infrastructure for families with several kindergarten and school children is not fully developed and coordinated. Social transfers such as child benefit , child allowance and housing benefit with regard to single parents and large families are assigned an essential role in the prevention of poverty.
According to a study commissioned by the Bertelsmann Foundation , certain elements are crucial for a better work-life balance. The following are emphasized: an expansion of services that takes priority over financial family benefits, a reliable and natural provision of high-quality childcare , parental leave and wage replacement regulations, income taxation, an active labor market policy, the strengthening of the market for family- related services with the help of service agencies with a reduction in taxes on these services as well as the organization of working hours in companies.
A study carried out in Australia on 1,400 children of longer-working fathers came to the conclusion that children are looking for the missing caregivers and that sons suffer more from missing fathers, and that aggression and inwardly directed behavioral problems have been proven.
Globalization and mobility
Research has shown links between mobility and family relationships:
- Mobility for work reasons has an impact on family development and relationships within the family;
- the effects on the family depend on the type of mobility - long-distance commuters, overnight stays (e.g. people with a second residence or with long-distance relationships ), "Vari-Mobile" with changing locations or "semi-migrants" with seasonal return to their original place of residence, moving vehicles ( People who have relocated their main residence) or “multi-mobile” who are mobile in several of the aforementioned forms at the same time.
- the development of the family influences the willingness for mobility and the choice of the form of mobility;
- these interdependencies are different for men and women.
Studies by the OECD
The compatibility of family and work is the subject of cross-border studies, in particular comparative studies by the OECD on Australia, Denmark and the Netherlands, Austria, Ireland and Japan, New Zealand, Portugal and Switzerland as well as Canada, Finland, Sweden and Great Britain, which are Series of recommendations resulted.
According to the OECD, a better work-life balance brings multiple benefits for society: a higher employment rate, more secure family income, the strengthening of equality between men and women and the promotion of child development.
- Reconciliation has an impact on career and family planning and thus on demographic development, particularly the age distribution : OECD analyzes indicate a possible increase in the birth rate through financial support for families with children and through measures to reconcile family and work.
- The availability, quality and costs of childcare have an impact on the parents' decision as to whether and how much childcare time is taken and is thus available for the job. For example, in Denmark, where these factors are beneficial for parents and where parents say they have confidence in the quality of childcare, the majority of women work full-time. Conversely, in the Netherlands, for example, high care costs for small children mean that mothers of several children often work part-time or give up their job entirely. In addition, the opening times and flexibility of care facilities have an influence on whether the work-life balance actually works in individual cases.
- In many cases, for example in Australia, Denmark and the Netherlands, fathers experience professional disadvantages when they want to assert family-related claims; According to the OECD study, this strengthens existing role models in the world of work and hinders equality between men and women in the labor market.
- Problems relating to the compatibility of family and work occur well beyond early childhood . According to an OECD report , this fact is hardly taken into account; For this reason, however, the Netherlands provides all parents with the right to co-decide on working hours.
- If parents feel compelled to work longer than they would like, in some cases the partnership can break or the child's development can be negatively affected.
Study by the Bosch Foundation
In a study by the Robert Bosch Stiftung , Sweden, France and Great Britain are compared with the Federal Republic of Germany as best-practice countries, with each of these countries representing a different way of reconciling family and work. In each of the three countries there is a better developed childcare facility compared to Germany; In Sweden and France, financial transfers to families with children are also high, as is Germany, while they are lower in Great Britain.
- In Sweden there is full state childcare and parental insurance reduces the loss of income due to children.
- In France, following recent reforms of the “third child policy”, 99% of three to six-year-olds are in public or private childcare, there are state subsidies for childcare at home and outside the home and government services, for example if a child is ill; the wages of women, measured in comparison to those of men, are higher than in the comparable countries.
- Great Britain has, among other things, an exemplary state family support service in the form of a transparent range of information on the subject of families, with bundled information on childcare and financial support.
One of the recommendations of this study is to introduce privately or publicly organized service agencies that should play a mediating role in order to make it easier for families to access family support services.
Seventh family report
The Federal Government's Seventh Family Report , which summarizes studies on various countries, points to a greater decline in families with more than two children in Germany than in other countries. Statistical data indicate that in Germany the shift in the reproductive phase in the life course of women leads to giving up children or having more than one or two children, while in other countries the decision to have children is only shifted towards the middle of life. In Germany, too, the time pressure in a rush hour of life between the ages of 27 and 35 is apparently particularly great with regard to training, starting a career, deciding on a partner, possible marriage and deciding to have children.
Further studies and comparisons
According to a series of events organized by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation , based on a comparison between France and Germany, the high rate of childless couples in Germany is primarily a result of mental attitudes and only secondarily as a result of structural and economic framework conditions: marriage, family and children have a higher status in France than in Germany, and there is a more child-friendly attitude in society.
According to a population survey in France and Germany carried out by the Allensbach Institute for Demoscopy , children are a factor of happiness for parents in both countries . In France, childless people see this much more than in Germany. There is a multi-child family (with three or more children) far more often the desired form of the family than in Germany, and there are significantly less expressed concerns about the professional compatibility. French mothers prefer full-time employment for both parents, while German mothers prefer roles in which the father works full-time and the mother works part-time.
According to a study by the Bertelsmann Foundation, there are fewer mothers returning to work in Germany than in other European countries. This is also related to the unfavorable tax classification of a part-time wife of a main breadwinner.
According to a survey of 14,000 employees in 24 countries in Europe, Asia and Central and North America by the market research institute Vocatus and the IriS network , a work-life balance is not sufficiently implemented in the countries surveyed. In particular, the ratio of working hours to pay is unsatisfactory for most of the respondents and leads to impairments in personal health as well as in private and family life. The commitment of German employees to better structuring their personal work-life balance is said to be less strong and less successful than that of their work colleagues in other countries, and their satisfaction with the topics of professional recognition , career opportunities, job satisfaction , pay and job security is clear less.
For an overview of maternity and paternity leave and annual leave regulations worldwide, see: Maternity leave .
Family friendliness in companies and institutions
Family friendliness as part of the organizational culture
It is increasingly emphasized that the compatibility of family and career not only serves to humanize the world of work or equal opportunities , but that investments in this area could also be worthwhile for companies from the point of view of cost development. For example, the Commission of the European Communities stated: "Flexible working arrangements increase productivity, ensure greater satisfaction among employees and benefit the company's good reputation" .
Family-friendly measures in the workplace - for example in companies and at public institutions - are related to human resources and corporate strategy . In particular, they can influence the job satisfaction of those concerned and the working atmosphere and represent a part of the organizational culture that has an influence on the entry and exit rate of employees , among other things . According to the results of a representative survey by the German Federal Ministry for Family, Seniors, Women and Youth, the employer's family friendliness already plays a decisive role when recruiting young skilled workers . Family-friendliness as an essential aspect of corporate culture requires an appropriate attitude and corresponding behavior on the part of management and executives (e.g. through their role model function). If this is not guaranteed, programs to support employees in reconciling work and family are not used by employees for fear of having to accept career losses. The implementation in the company requires a broad participation of the employees and the company interest representation. The relevant topics relating to family-friendly business include:
- Team building , group work in mixed teams , personnel management;
- Planning before downtime due to maternity or parental leave to ensure adequate substitution and to prepare for re-entry ; Employee and counseling interviews about opportunities and risks of family-related leave from work; Access to company emails and in-house training during parental leave; possible activity during the leave of absence and graduated part-time after leave of parental leave as a gradual return to work;
- Organization of working hours beyond fixed full-time and half-day work : part-time work and flexible working time models , for example by means of exemptions using a time value account , by working hours for individual areas (to replace or supplement core times ) or by trust-based working hours ;
- variable choice of place of work and teleworking if suitable for the workplace;
- Offering or arranging household and family support services , in particular in-house childcare for young children, extending the opening times of childcare facilities, company childcare, especially during school holidays , supplemented by the option of taking a child into the company if necessary;
- Granting of days off or help with the placement of external care in the event of illness of children or relatives (in Germany there is an entitlement to time off if a child is ill );
- Child bonus times in the form of paid working hour credits for employees with children or in the form of additional vacation days per child;
- Paternity leave or reduced working hours for fathers in the first weeks after the birth or longer paid time off for parents after the birth (possibly in addition to government regulations such as parental leave), as is the case with SAP and Hewlett Packard Enterprise, for example, in response to an increased shortage of skilled workers has been implemented;
- Flexible special leave (generally unpaid) not only for parents, for example as part of the BMW Group's “Full-Time Select” model with up to 20 unpaid leave days per year;
- Cost-benefit analysis of operational measures;
- Promotional public presentation as a family-friendly company, for example in the form of an open house .
Family-friendliness measures are also examined from the point of view of equality in terms of the extent to which they are primarily aimed at women or whether they are used to a comparable extent by men and women. Some measures, such as B. part-time positions, are mainly used by women and make it easier for them to combine family and work, but hinder equal participation of women and men in employment and family life .
According to a presentation by Prognos , father-oriented measures primarily depend on internal communication of the measures and their legitimation, as well as on sensitizing the workforce and managers to the topic. "For the acceptance of father-oriented measures it is [...] crucial to make it clear from the company side that the measures represent sensible solutions for the mutual benefit of employees and companies." The reasons for the growing importance of a father-oriented personnel policy are emphasized as "the Person-related factors such as innovation, creativity, knowledge and experience, commitment and performance become the basis of corporate success in the knowledge-based service society ", and" in addition to the changing understanding of roles on the part of men and fathers to a more active fatherhood, overload situations increasingly arise from changed Requirements of the partners and changed expectations of the environment for a committed fatherhood and an egalitarian partnership result. The social pressure on fathers and men has increased and will continue to increase. "
According to a report by the BMFSFJ , family-friendly working hours are characterized by predictable flexibility . This allows, on the one hand, that regular working hours can deviate from standard working hours - whereby a conflict can arise between employee-oriented and employer-friendly flexibility - and that, on the other hand, the employee can react appropriately to unforeseen cases, for example by taking days off when a child is sick. Full-time employment is often only possible for parents if, for example, the working hours can be structured as flexitime . The ability to plan work is also important: under certain circumstances, a forward-looking, long-term planning of work processes can avoid an employee having to be available at short notice. Family-friendly personnel policy is also important for institutions of the Protestant Church and its Diakonie with a total of 675,000 employees. This is shown by the results of a study commissioned by the EKD Council, developed by the Social Science Institute of the EKD ( SI ) and published at the end of November 2012. In order to prevent unequal treatment, the topic of family-friendly working hours is usually discussed more generally as a choice of shorter and more flexible working hours for men and women under the term work-life balance .
The expression work-life balance generally stands for a balance to be striven for between work and family as well as personal leisure interests, especially from the point of view of self-realization or meaning given by the individual. Family obligations towards a hobby or other leisure interests do not necessarily have priority. However, offers of leisure time support, for example through company-related sports facilities, are not generally included in work-life balance measures. Individual satisfaction with the personal situation is the decisive criterion for evaluating the balance . Occasionally, it is critically noted that the term work-life balance implies a private matter and responsibility and ignores the social point of view. However, individual autonomy in the sense of freedom of choice and the ability to act in the face of diverse flexibility requirements on the part of the profession and on the part of the children is considered a key factor for a successful balance.
Interest groups and collective agreements
In personnel policy and organizational development, the issue of family-friendly operation is an important aspect of personnel development and diversity management , especially with regard to employee motivation and diversity within the workforce. In the 1990s and before that, many collective agreements and works agreements in Europe stipulated framework conditions for, for example, parental leave, leave for family reasons in full-time or part-time leave and for childcare. The topic of family-friendly business gained increasing importance in the first years of the 21st century and was linked, among other things, to corporate health promotion . In the case of staff and works councils , the compatibility issue was sometimes treated as continuously relevant, sometimes as subordinate in view of massive structural problems, and sometimes it played a very minor role. On the trade union side, the wish for a better work-life balance was expressed as one wish among several - without paying particular attention to deviations from normal labor standards . However, at the beginning of the 21st century, the issue of reconciliation is gaining in importance among unions, for example in Germany and Japan .
On the part of the working group of self-employed entrepreneurs , the fear of "overregulation" was expressed. From the company's point of view, high costs, organizational effort and a lack of capacity are often cited as obstacles to operational work-life balance measures. Bureaucratic hurdles are highlighted when setting up company support services.
Although companies are increasingly providing such offers, the actual use of support offers and flexibility measures is often very low. From the point of view of the organizational culture, the assumption is expressed that family-friendly offers in companies would be used the more, the more not the time commitment, but the professional and especially social skills determined the career. The culture of the country and the size of the company also influence the range, use and effect of family-friendly measures. Employee surveys are an instrument for measuring work-life balance satisfaction and for monitoring success.
According to the results of a study by the Institute for Economic and Social Sciences (WSI) of the Hans Böckler Foundation, the majority of Germans are in favor of the two-earner model and many parents would like to split up paid work and family work in a partnership. According to the proposals made in the context of these results, a modern working time concept is required in which the male model of normal working time is replaced by “a menu of full- time standards of different lengths” for certain phases of life. For example, the volume of working hours of a “full-time job” would be defined differently depending on age or whether or not people look after children. In addition, it should be considered to support an egalitarian working time distribution with financial incentives.
Family involvement and influence on career
Workers who actively devote themselves to child-rearing cannot meet demands for mobility, flexibility or availability to the same extent as those who practice the housewife model. In the case of men, wives and children have a career-enhancing effect insofar as fathers are generally expected to have a higher motivation for professional involvement in order to secure a family income compared to unmarried or childless people.
According to Thomas Gesterkamp , fathers who reduce their professional commitment due to their commitment to the family behave contrary to the expected role model and risk social exclusion. In a study by Lena Hipp , in which 718 fictitious applications were sent with 2 or 12 months of alleged parental leave, it was found that men who had taken long parental leave were invited to an interview as often as men with short parental leave . In the case of women, applicants with long parental leave were invited less often than those with short parental leave.
In a study published by the VDI in 2008 within the male-dominated occupation of engineers , it was found that in Germany in this occupation, the family-friendliness of companies is still considered a topic by women. In addition, "the total availability of the person for the company towards the end of the 20th century had become an unspoken condition for taking on top positions in many companies," and this presupposes an organization of private life in the form of the single breadwinner model.
In order to promote a family-conscious or gender-equitable corporate culture, when assessing staff management, some organizations include whether the respective manager takes into account the employees' legitimate family obligations when organizing their time and work. For example, in the assessment form from the city of Hamburg, the respect for the compatibility of family and work is explicitly noted as a requirement for managers. In October 2009, the German Association for Public and Private Welfare recommended that the management assessment be expanded to include an assessment of the consideration of the respective superiors for family issues, as this would create an incentive for family-friendly management that would also pay off for the superiors themselves. It is particularly important that the manager works towards greater acceptance of male employees who work part-time, parental leave or care leave.
Impact of reduced working hours on career
Part-time work and a career are not mutually exclusive. In Germany, for example, executives also have the right to demand that the contractually agreed working hours be reduced ( Part-Time and Temporary Employment Act ) if - as with other employees - this is opposed to non-operational reasons, the company more than 15 employees and they have worked there for at least six months. However, long working hours are often seen as a sign of commitment, success and loyalty.and
According to a study carried out by the Institute for Application-Oriented Innovation and Future Research (IAIZ) among works and staff councils as well as family-oriented men , a “presence culture” based on compulsory attendance and full - time work dominates the organizational culture . The assessment of employees in terms of motivation is also linked to presence. Men in particular, even in the Scandinavian countries, are confronted with obstacles in terms of taking parental leave. If part-time or parental leave is interpreted as a lack of motivation, they are problematic for the career; The attitude of the superior plays a decisive role. Prejudices among superiors and colleagues can undermine a company guideline that is in principle compatible with one another. In some cases, due to job cuts, work intensification or even overloading. Conversely, family commitment also meets admiration and appreciation.
Most of the men surveyed in the IAIZ study who had temporarily dropped out of full-time employment rated active fatherhood, family work and the changed priorities very positively and the consequences for their professional career as negative. The acceptance of fathers taking time off and part-time is growing among HR managers in Germany: in a representative survey by the Allensbach Institute for Demoscopy in 2008, 61% of the HR managers questioned support the interruption of work by fathers (2006: 48%) and 65% rated the reduction in the number of employees Positive working hours by fathers (2006: 59%).
Family time can also have a positive effect on professional development as it gains in key skills such as social skills. Parents acquire resilience, organizational skills, flexibility and a sense of responsibility. For the purpose of recording such competencies in personnel selection and career counseling, the UND has been running an instrument for recording key competencies (IESKO) since 2002 .
The extent to which part-time work leads to greater satisfaction with the balance achieved between work and family can depend on various factors. Individual studies carried out among women indicate that, especially in jobs with a high requirement profile, fears about possible stigmatization and negative effects on the career from part-time work could weigh heavily, compared to a relatively small gain in time for the family. Studies indicate the importance of working time flexibility in the sense of greater time sovereignty for the employee: greater flexibility in this sense goes hand in hand with greater work-life balance satisfaction. The respective organizational culture has a decisive influence on the effect of any family-friendly measures.
In German civil service law, periods of part- time employment are taken into account in the same way as periods of full-time employment when moving up the level of experience of the basic salary .
Compatibility in management positions
With regard to managers , it is often assumed that management responsibility is indivisible. According to an article from 1999, reduced working hours in management tasks were not a topic of debate at that time, which was "justified in particular by the classic control and steering tasks and the role model function assigned to them as managers"; The authors found a deeper cause in a negatively influenced view of man in a Tayloristic manner, according to which the subordinate employees required “strict management and control in every phase of their work”, as well as in a frequently encountered self-image of the executives who considered themselves indispensable and whose identification with the company “comes close to the state of self-abandonment”. According to the results of the survey, there is definitely a desire among managers to work part-time, for example in the form of reduced full-time work with a flexible working time account. In a Tübingen study carried out in middle management, respondents criticized the fact that the possible effects of part-time or parental leave on careers were not disclosed. In a 2002 study by two leading American economic institutions with data from 20 European countries, the majority of men and women stated that taking parental leave or making work more flexible would jeopardize their careers; However, women only named family and personal obligations as a career obstacle in fourth place.
According to the results of a Hamburg pilot project, job sharing is definitely feasible in at least some of the management positions. The disadvantage of higher costs for training and social security contributions would be offset by advantages in terms of representation and flexibility, and in many cases also in terms of competence and productivity. With a partial separation of specialist and managerial tasks, management could remain in one hand even with reduced working hours. What is important are the transparency of responsibilities, mutual acceptance , team orientation and a willingness to be flexible on the part of the job sharers. In Switzerland, job-sharing models in management positions are known as “ top sharing ”.
In male-dominated areas such as engineers and natural scientists, however, the HR managers questioned often associate part-time work with a job as a secretary or employee in production, not with a job in a senior position. However, people who already hold a managerial position may negotiate individual regulations for working part-time as a manager. However, these part-time managers usually work far more than the contractually agreed time.
The German Institute for Economic Research stated: “Basically, contractual conditions and provisions on working hours define the everyday work of employees. In the case of managers, however, it is assumed that they are more committed to their company and are willing to work longer hours. Management positions are therefore usually only compatible with reduced working hours in exceptional cases. "
In top management in particular, it is important that one of the spouses or life partners postpones their own professional development at least temporarily in the interests of the partner's career and looking after the children. ( See also: Hyperinclusion in top management .)
Double career couples
Couples in which both partners have a long-term career or career orientation and a high degree of “professional commitment” are referred to as dual career couples . People with a university degree often live with an equally well-trained partner. Universities in particular have to deal with the issue of dual career couples, especially when appointing highly qualified researchers from abroad. In addition to general work-life balance support and financial support, the focus is on strategies for recruiting couples, ways of dividing up positions and finding employment for partners. In Anglo-Saxon countries, university offers for scientifically active partners are an important aspect of ensuring excellence; In other countries, individual universities, such as the ETH Zurich, have started to offer help with the partner's job search.
Audit and certification
The "berufundfamilie non-profit GmbH" was founded in 1998 by the non-profit Hertie Foundation in order to bundle all of the foundation's activities in the field of the same name. In 1999 she initiated an audit that has been carried out by “berufundfamilie Service GmbH” since 2009: the berufundfamilie audit , which is a management tool that provides tailor-made, profitable solutions to better combine work, family and private life. The audit, which is under the patronage of the Federal Minister for Family Affairs, is recommended by the leading German business associations BDA , BDI , DIHK and ZDH and has developed into a seal of quality for family awareness in the German economy. The family-friendly university audit by berufundfamilie Service GmbH has been carried out at universities in Germany since 2002 - for research and teaching as well as administration and service, with certification with regard to legal requirements for gender equality and support for students and employees with family responsibilities.
In Austria, Familie & Beruf Management GmbH , which was founded in 2006 and is owned by the Federal Ministry for Social Affairs and Health, carries out the berufundfamilie audit and other family-friendly audits.
Discrepancy between guideline and practice
A family-friendly guideline in the company does not guarantee that the practice at all levels of the company corresponds to this requirement. Even in companies that have received a certificate as a family-friendly company, employees who return to their job after maternity or parental leave or who want to work part-time can face massive problems. The conflict can give rise to a court action for discrimination .
Conversely, restrictive regulations, such as a company specification of fixed working hours, can be handled relatively freely in the specific work situation if superiors are open and willing to talk.
Employer evaluation portals ask evaluators specifically about the compatibility of family and work with the employer to be evaluated.
The personal balance, in which family, private life and work are in harmony, has many facets, depending on the attitude towards life ; for example:
- to have time and leisure for family relationships and for oneself,
- to pursue a job for which one is talented, in which one sees a purpose and which secures a livelihood, to complete an apprenticeship or study or to devote himself to social or voluntary activities,
- to choose the place of residence in accordance with one's own wishes, for example on the basis of personal ties or an affinity to the country and culture,
- to remain open to new things for life, to cultivate hobbies and friendships ,
- Take your own health seriously and promote it through healthy living conditions and habits ,
- Manage and shape overlaps and spillover effects between areas of life yourself,
- to be able to act flexibly and to realize one's own ideas of a balance, regardless of social stereotypes or guidelines,
- to be at peace with yourself.
In addition to the relationship with partner and children , depending on local customs, personal life history and geographical and emotional proximity, relationships with other relatives and especially the older generation can play an important role. These can be expressed in the form of care for the children by the grandparents or, conversely, in the home care of the parents or in -laws .
A consciously designed balance of areas of life - including practical, health, mental-emotional and spiritual aspects of self-care - is crucial for subjective well-being and quality of life . In the wake of deregulation and flexibilization, sociologists no longer take the protection of space and time for private life for granted: it is increasingly becoming an achievement of the person who is of existential importance both for the individual and for society. In a publication by the research and advice center for the world of work, it is emphasized that more diverse arrangements between company and individual interests could become more frequent if more options were offered, but that individualization also carries the risk of individual exclusion if one does not manage to cope with one's own life situation .
In everyday language, the term “super mom” is sometimes used, which often expresses admiration, skepticism or an exaggeration of requirements.
It is often stated that a perfectionist striving to master all areas of life in an excellent way can lead to burnout in the long term through the associated high stress . Measures to improve the balance, as well as measures to promote health , contribute to burnout prophylaxis .
When considering the compatibility of family and work as a task for the individual, important concepts and objectives are often mentioned: flexibility (also in the sense of adaptability ) and mutual consideration, the possibility of self-determination , serenity and social integration within the respective living environment .
Studies of interactions between areas of life
Based on the assumption of separate areas of life, positive and negative interactions between the areas are examined, whereby depending on the type and direction of the effect, between positive effects ( work-to-family promotion and family-to-work promotion) and negative effects ( work- to-family conflict and family-to-work conflict). Conflicts are also differentiated according to the type of conflict (for example with regard to time , stress and role behavior or role expectations ). Hypotheses for occurring interactions are represented by different models:
- the segmentation model of an independent development of the areas,
- the congruence model in which certain variables (such as personal characteristics) have a similar effect in different areas of life,
- the identity model without division of areas of life,
- the spillover model , in which positive or negative developments (e.g. with regard to safety, personal satisfaction, further training, strengths or skills, or vice versa, excessive demands, stress, discrepancies, lack of concentration, delays or absence behavior) mutually reinforce each other possibly combined with crossover effects on other people,
- The compensation model , in which negative developments in one area lead to efforts to compensate for them with positive developments and the satisfaction of needs in the other area (e.g. by looking for challenges in private, if work is perceived as monotonous, or striving for recognition in the workplace, if there is little appreciation at home),
- the resource outflow model , in which resources for one area (e.g. the use of time and attention ) are subtracted from the other area ( see also: Theory of resource conservation ).
Socio-economic and psychological studies deal, among other things, with effects on performance and satisfaction, on health, on relationships with couples and on the well-being of children, including coping strategies and support systems . Since the effects postulated in the various models can occur simultaneously, increasingly complex, integrative models are being investigated. For example, a possible influence of personal character traits and gender on the type and extent of the interaction effects that occur is taken into account.
As a collective term for an increasing dissolution of the boundaries between areas of life is also spoken of delimitation .
The degree of separation between personality and life areas differs in different cultures. According to studies by Sylvia Schroll-Machl on cultural standards, working Germans in particular clearly distinguish between professional and private life. The extent to which delimitation is a desirable opportunity or a risk is controversial. Dealing with one's own energies and resources, possibly also a demarcation from the demands of the world of work and production, is increasingly becoming an individual task.
Influence of technical means
Through the use of mobile telephony and smartphones , people can remain available almost at all times, so that requirements and time or role conflicts can be reacted to quickly. Teleworking as "information and communication technology supported gainful employment outside of a central business location" is widespread.
For routine meetings, companies often use video conference communication . Depending on the type of activity, with appropriate planning, this can reduce the number of business and official trips required and thus improve compatibility.
According to a representative survey by TNS Infratest from 2007, which was carried out on behalf of the communication software provider WebEx among 1,500 working German citizens, 48% think that web conferences , home offices or virtual offices could in principle help them to better combine work and family . However, this belief is more prevalent among childless people than among working parents. In a telephone survey conducted by TNS a year earlier on behalf of WebEx among 1,600 workers, 78% of women and 72% of men said that modern technologies such as the Internet or web conferencing would help them to better combine work and family.
The use of these technical means can blur the line between work and private life. Depending on the type of use, this can lead to increased stress or a lack of recovery for those affected.
Family, Services and Public Space
Challenges within the family and in public life
Quite apart from the political and entrepreneurial dimension, reconciling family and work also represents a concrete challenge in everyday life for working parents. A career path of their own, their own family with or without the desire to have children, and a social, cultural, sporting or political commitment For many, areas are part of the dream of a happy life. The respective meaning of these aspects is different depending on personality, understanding of roles and life plan.
For parents who do not have unlimited time for their families because of their work, it is a challenge to consciously shape everyday family life and to meet the needs of all family members as much as possible. Young fathers in particular often want to be an active father. Flexible or even slightly shortened working hours can enable working mothers and fathers to keep time free for their children within the week, for example in the form of a regular children's afternoon. In many cases, time that is consciously perceived as family time together ( quality time or "quality time" - such as meals together, activities or excursions, even on weekends and during family vacations) is emphasized as particularly important. Occasionally it is reported that the concept of “quality time” is viewed critically as an ideology that justifies a shortage of maternal time. Educators stress the importance of the nature of the relationship with the child - it is crucial that parents are approachable by a child, help to solve the child's most important problems and know his or her personal traits and strengths and that the child has confidence in the parents. It is also emphasized that self-discipline and consistency in dealing with children is necessary even after a long day at work. If there is no strength left to raise children, there is a risk that children will develop little independence and that their parents will find them all the more "exhausting".
In many cases, parents find it particularly difficult to find time for a partnership . As children grow up, the parents' employment and parental roles play a role as role models for their own development.
Studies on the division of labor in the family show that a partnership-based division of care work between the sexes in everyday life is associated with a great deal of effort. For example, a delegation of care to a day care facility, host parents or grandparents leads to more points of connection to the world outside the family and thus contributes to a greater complexity of family life.
As the number of children rises, compatibility is perceived as more difficult: In a representative survey of men and women in Germany with a university degree, parents with increasing numbers of children named the areas as "compatible" less often and more often as "hardly or not at all". The largest increase was in the proportion of those who stated that the areas could be "arranged with a lot of energy or skill".
Bringing the various areas of life into harmony presents families with specific problems that require flexible solutions. The influence of the living environment and the social infrastructure is one of the decisive factors for the compatibility of family and work and for the possibility of social participation .
- residential area
- The immediate living environment conditions everyday life in the family. If work opportunities, schools, shopping, childcare and leisure activities and befriended children are in the immediate vicinity, the distances are shortened, and for older children there is no need to bring and fetch them from their parents . The availability of places in day-care centers and all-day schools does not meet demand in many places; The municipal family policy of the cities and municipalities and the division into school districts or school districts must be taken into account.
- Children's mobility
- For children of school age, the question arises of the way to school and of bringing and picking up for extracurricular activities. Depending on the range of activities available at the school location inside or outside the school and depending on the children's ability to reach the respective locations independently, parents can act as “ parents' taxi ”. Obviously, family-specific aspects of mobility such as the local public transport network , school buses , the conditions for walking as well as school guides and traffic education for children play an important role. According to “La città dei bambini” by Francesco Tonucci, the safety perceived by citizens - in traffic and in relation to crime - has an important influence on the extent to which children can move around on their own in public areas. The German Children's Fund notes for children the independent exploring the home environment or a risk-free is playing on streets, sidewalks and squares become increasingly difficult, and social contacts are usually organized by parents. According to the results of the so-called “Freiburg Children's Study”, the possibility of unsupervised play with people of the same age in the immediate vicinity (within a radius of 150 to 200 meters) is particularly formative for the everyday life of children and influences the need for organized childcare. Measures to design a child- and family-friendly living environment with traffic-calmed areas and play streets can improve open spaces and traffic safety for children; Completely car-free city quarters are also possible. Thus, these factors also have an indirect effect on the compatibility of work and family in children of school age.
- Organization of afternoon activities
- Hans Bertram , chairman of the expert commission of the Seventh Family Report, sees municipal family policy as having a duty with regard to the organization of afternoon educational offers in Germany : "The educational counseling, the sports club, the music school or the dance group are usually good and differentiated municipal offers for children, but they are not organized in such a way that someone does not have to take the children to these different places, usually the mother. A sustainable family policy will therefore also have to reflect the framework conditions so that the municipalities provide places for children with their differentiated offers that make it easier for parents to integrate the different areas of the family with the variable development demands of their children in such a way that children with different Interests and different ages have the opportunity to grow up together with other children ”. Bringing and picking up for age-specific afternoon activities must be organized as early as kindergarten age. Educational offers within the kindergartens are usually very limited in terms of room occupancy, the smooth running of everyday kindergarten life and the number of participants. Additional offers can be organized by the parents' representatives , although the parents often have to take care of the interface to the kindergarten, such as bringing and picking them up. Sometimes schools and sports clubs provide afternoon activities without recourse to parental delivery and collection; this is particularly the case in the Netherlands.
- Parents' mobility in everyday life
- The increase in female employment and everyday family-related use of the car are considered to be the main reasons for an increase in inner-city traffic. It has been claimed that the desire for short distances for housework, family work and gainful employment and for leisure time increases the demand for residential locations in areas close to the city center, and that a better balance can be achieved in a “ city of short distances ”, with smaller, urban structural mix of workplaces, shopping and service facilities, schools and day-care centers as well as leisure and cultural offers. Studies from the USA therefore indicate a connection between the relaxation of the traditional role of women and an upgrading of residential areas close to the city center .
- Job mobility and change of residence
- The desire to live together as a family may hinder the parents' independent professional development. In another state or federal state, one's own professional or university degree is not always recognized, although steps have been taken towards the mutual recognition of professional degrees and qualifications at least within the EU ( European Professional Recognition Directive ) and within the framework of the Council of Europe ( Lisbon Convention ). A stay abroad as an expatriate usually involves the difficulties and opportunities of language acquisition; the children grow up as Third Culture Kids with elements from different cultures. Greater geographical distances to acquaintances or distant families mean that short-term care of children by family members or friends is less easy and the support of older family members becomes more expensive. A change of residence can be useful or necessary for a person's professional career; For the partner, moving can mean the loss of professional continuity or the personal network of relationships , or, on the other hand, a new opportunity. For children, depending on their age, it means a change of school and the search for new friends. Longer daily commutes represent a compromise, which is why several courts in Germany have declared the reduction in the commuter allowance, which will apply from 2007, to be incompatible with the protection of marriage and family ; however, they require less family time. Business trips also increase the difficulties and the need for coordination if the partner, another member of the family or, for example, an au pair cannot stay at home. The costs of running a double household are tax-deductible, also for unmarried parents, provided that one of the apartments is declared to be a shared family home in the time coherent with the birth. The establishment of an educational community can be an important reason for termination if it serves the best interests of the child ; Under the appropriate conditions, according to the judgment of the Senate of the Federal Social Court, such a termination is not accompanied by a blocking period for unemployment benefits (B 11a / 7a AL 52/06 R of October 17, 2007). In companies, the lowering of mobility requirements and the reduction of the burdens resulting from mobility can mean greater family friendliness.
- Flexibility requirements
- Parents have to cope with a wide range of requirements flexibly. These can be requirements that can be planned - for example gaps between the daily opening times of the care facilities and parental working hours, closings of care facilities due to holiday periods, or regular afternoon activities for the children - or short-term requirements, for example due to illnesses of the children or short-term failures of babysitters. These flexibility requirements put a strain on parents, as they can only pass them on to other people or organizations to a small extent. For example, it is difficult for employees to cover vacation times of the care facilities with their own vacation days, and atypical employment times, even for part-time employees, are hardly covered by the child daycare offer. In Germany, within the framework of so-called local alliances for families , authorities, companies and other institutions can coordinate with each other in order to better coordinate working hours and opening times of childcare facilities; In 2004, in a representative survey by the opinion research institute Emnid, three quarters of those questioned stated that the corresponding times did not match. There are individual initiatives to support working parents, which enable sick children to be cared for at home by specially trained staff at short notice.
- House work
- In private households resulting work a lot of time mean. An extension of the shop opening hours makes it easier for most people (customers) to combine family and work, but makes it more difficult for those who work in retail. A possible resulting closure of smaller shops - some cited as a possible consequence of increased flexibility - and the resulting longer shopping distances would also be disadvantageous for customers. Additional options are offered by service offerings such as shopping with delivery service and online shopping . Added service applications for administrative operations, such as online banking and -Behördengänge . As part of the EU project Coping with Everyday Life , it is reported that in France and in individual Italian municipalities, business and government representatives are working together to better align public services, public transport and shop opening times with normal working hours. The increasing automation in the household to make housework easier can, under certain circumstances, mean that those involved have more time available. The participation of girls and boys in household chores, which corresponds to the child's age, is considered to be an educationally important part of everyday family life and has a particularly positive effect on older children.
- Support for families
- In the context of financial and organizational possibilities and provided they are used in good time, external services can relieve the parents. However, unpaid support plays an important role, especially in the care and supervision of children. In Germany, this is done mainly by the extended family and - less often, mostly in unforeseen situations - by the informal social network in the sphere of friendship , the neighborhood or the group of colleagues . If there are several children, especially if they are small or need special help for other reasons, coping with everyday life generally requires further steps: for example, a reduction in working hours for one or both parents, support from a nanny or domestic help, assistance from the grandparents or the presence of an au pair . In Germany, according to the results of a study by the DIW, proximity to a grandmother's place of residence is a relevant factor for the number of children in families. However, grandmothers are increasingly participating in the labor market and are therefore less ready in their traditional roles, especially in urban areas. Raising the retirement age is also cited as an obstacle to contact between the child and grandparents. Parents also support each other through informal contacts made, for example, through pregnancy courses, playgrounds or childcare groups. Multi-generation houses and family centers also serve to promote such contacts in the neighborhood .
- Dedication to details
- In practice, a large number of minor coordination tasks can complicate the everyday life of working parents. With more interactions between households and various institutions, the complexity of living conditions increases. In addition, there are many details regarding childcare and upbringing: detailed questions such as whether food is prepared by the care staff or the parents, whether school books are bought as a bulk order, whether various expenses can be settled in total, whether photos of children for group work are taken up in the care facility and whether children's pictures and works of art are already labeled on site make a big difference overall , especially in the everyday life of large families . Depending on how small requirements are to be met, parents are forced to adjust their daily planning accordingly at short notice. Reliable, up-to-date information for parents from their children's care facilities, kindergartens and schools is important for the coordination of everyday family life. If this information is not provided in written or electronic form, it is difficult to obtain complete, up-to-date information, especially if several people take turns bringing and picking up the children. The habits in care facilities are shaped by the ideas of the management, the financial resources and the care key , but also by the prevailing parental employment patterns in society. For example, in an environment where most mothers are at home part-time or full-time, it can be difficult for full-time working parents to express their wishes through the parents' representatives . Often the parental willingness to spend time on little things is interpreted as love and care and is therefore assumed.
- Social measures, health promotion and professional development
- Organized or financed in part by public funds and health insurances, there are diverse offers to avoid stress and to better cope with everyday life in family and at work. For family stressful situations (such as postnatal depression , excessive tiredness , excessive demands , partnership problems , excessive crying of an infant ), there is not only medical care but also home midwifery care, parenting courses , psychological counseling , breastfeeding counseling , mother / father-child cures as well as marriage counseling , couple therapy and family mediation ; There are opportunities for mentoring , coaching , career counseling, professional development , psychological counseling and team building , some of which can also be offered in-house, for difficulties in the professional field (such as psychological stress , bullying ) . For example, training can pair for dealing with stress, the avoidance of spilling over to serve from work stress to the family or of family stress on the work that demonstrably lead to significant improvements in business and partnership.
The authors of a study by the German Youth Institute in Germany speak of a double delimitation of employment and family. Some families would cope with the challenges with great ingenuity. Couples sometimes fall back on an employment constellation in which one of the partners can react flexibly to professional requirements, while the other has reliable working conditions and can be used flexibly for the family. This often leads to a retraditionalization contrary to the couple's original intention. Mostly, the quantitative extent and qualitative significance of the employment of women are placed on the back of the employment of men, the woman is at the same time bound to more regulated processes. According to the results of the study, the everyday strategies of the parents are lacking in sustainability , especially since all those involved sometimes become overburdened, exhausted and overwhelmed, which means that the partnership, the relationships with the children and, above all, self-care are neglected. Several operational fields of action are identified as effective support for parents, for example targeted career and career advancement for couples. At the social level, according to the authors of the study, it is a matter of drafting an overall concept that does not follow one-sided dominance of employment.
Work-life service industry
A service industry has established itself around the compatibility of family and work, which supports companies and institutions in the reconciliation of work and family.
The range of services includes advice for employers and employees, arranging options for childcare by nannies or day parents , arranging holiday camps , day vacations , babysitters , au pairs , support for older family members (eldercare) , pick-up and taxi services as well as various services in Connection with housekeeping such as cleaning staff and domestic help , gardener and winter services . The organization of celebrations is also offered as a service: to organize children's birthday parties for individual children or for several children at the same time, organizers, such as indoor play parks, can be called in or animators can be engaged, for example a party service for celebrations for adults . Some of the service providers provide the services themselves, others see themselves exclusively as objective intermediaries. Providers of the family service division rarely intervene in work organization. In addition to classic advice on family, child and parent-friendliness, work-life service providers often also offer research for information, contact persons and processes.
A higher participation of women in the labor force can lead to growth in this service sector, as there is less time for (unpaid) household work; for example, in Sweden or Denmark, where female participation is high, the share of health and social services in total employment is also high. In 2005, the share of those employed in private households in relation to the total number of persons in employment within the EU varied between 3.8% (Spain) and almost 0% (Sweden) and averaged 1.4%. In Germany, particularly favorable regulations for mini-jobs in the household-related sector have been introduced since 2003 , which are intended to channel the workforce into contracts subject to social insurance. In a report by the Cologne Institute for Economic Research, it was emphasized that the tax deductibility of family support services through increased female employment and the legalization of existing service relationships can contribute to increased tax income and a decline in tax growth. In Germany, according to a study published by the Robert Bosch Stiftung in 2006, family support services could create around 60,000 new full-time jobs in families as employers. The possibility of marginal employment in the household (“mini job”) acts as an incentive to short part-time work, which counteracts the bundling and professionalization of household-related services.
Model tests for public funding of so-called service pools, which provide household-related services, aim to make such household and personal services more professional . In France , the Chèque emploi service universel (CESU) was introduced as a non- bureaucratic means of payment for housework or personal services in one's own household, which in addition to the payment of wages also includes the payment of social security contributions. The CESU can be applied for in your own bank or pre-financed by your own employer. In Germany, the Institute for Work and Technology (IAT / Gelsenkirchen) determined on the basis of the results of pilot projects that public funding for service pools could contribute more to the financial independence of those employed in this area than promoting marginal employment in the manner of "mini Jobs ".
At the beginning of the 21st century, the number of migrant women working as domestic helpers rose sharply across Europe . Some states, such as Germany, do not grant residence permits for cleaning or childcare staff, as no labor shortage is recognized in this sector. As an exception to this, a work permit was introduced in Germany in 2005 for Eastern European people who work in the households of elderly and particularly dependent people. Other countries, such as Italy, Greece and Spain, have established special programs for the legal recruitment of live-in domestic workers who live in the employer's household. Critical reference is made to the emergence of global care chains in which migrant workers leave their children behind in their country of origin and thereby become estranged from them.
The work-life service industry must be differentiated from family care, in which a carer supports the family when parents are temporarily unable to look after the children and continue the household due to illness. The mediation of family care is often done by non-profit, church or charitable institutions.
Individual and company training offers are added specifically to improve the work-life balance , which are intended to show the way to a better individual balance . In addition, there are external advisory agencies that advise employees on a daily basis and whose area of responsibility overlaps with that of company doctors , internal social workers or industrial psychologists. Such external services have been customary in the USA since the 1970s as employee assistance and are increasingly being used by companies or authorities in Germany.
Within the range of advisory services, advisors must be carefully selected, as its peripheral areas overlap with offers in the esoteric market . Individual organizations also try to find access to companies through the increasing interest in spiritual topics as the workload increases. According to the Bavarian Constitutional Protection Report for 2006, Scientology cover organizations are also active in corporate, management and personnel consulting . In sensitive areas such as management consultancy and personnel and management training, an explicit declaration of the non-use of the methods of L. Ron Hubbard is sometimes required when awarding public service contracts .
Projects and initiatives
A large number of non-commercially oriented associations, clubs and projects are dedicated to the topic of work and family - some with public funding.
Interest groups that focus primarily on the issue of compatibility are the Association of Working Mothers eV, the Association Vaeter eV , the Väter-Expert-Netz eV and the professional association of the work-life consulting industry Alliance for Work-Life Progress . Other associations consider this topic to be one of many, such as the women's associations Business and Professional Women and European Women's Management Development .
In Germany, the federal and state governments, the trade unions and business associations support projects and initiatives to reconcile family and work. The Federal Center for Health Education provides independent information on this topic. The BMFSFJ publishes information about the compatibility of family and work. In particular, it runs the business program Success Factor Family, which was initiated in 2006 together with the DIHK and funded by federal and ESF funds, with information and a network platform for the exchange of experience among companies. The Center for University Development , the Robert Bosch Foundation and the Federal Government Commissioner for the New Federal States run a family in the university program . The initiative berufundfamilie offers the family audit also an alphabetically and thematically ordered list of relevant measures and related aspects. The DGB is running a project to make family and work compatible . The Association for Business and Family e. V. supports family-oriented personnel management in the member companies through advice, qualification and information. The MittelstandundFamilie project , initiated by the nationwide initiative Allianz für die Familie , a cooperation between the federal government, the trade unions and the central associations of German business, maintains an information line and a database with the aim of supporting employers in making small and medium-sized businesses family-friendly . In addition, programs to promote company childcare were created in Germany .
The initiatives for reconciliation funded by the ministries of the German state governments include (or included) the one published by the Institute for Medium-Sized Business at the University of Trier eV and by the Rhineland-Palatinate Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs, Health, Family and Women (MASGFF) funded project ZeitZeichen - information center for innovative working time models, founded in 2005 , the action programs of the state government of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania for the ESF- funded support of selected projects for compatibility, the competence center work and family of the state of Baden-Württemberg as well as several information offers of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia
Similar projects and initiatives exist in Austria and Switzerland.
The Action Instead of Words initiative offers information and links on the subject of work-life balance and presents Austrian companies that are family-friendly.
The Swiss specialist office UND deals with the framework conditions for the reconciliation of family and paid work in business and society and the possibilities of realizing individual, partnership-based division of labor.
Compatibility of family and work in individual countries
The states of Germany, Austria and Switzerland are considered conservative due to the predominance of the traditional and modernized bourgeois family model. In an international comparison, Germany stands out due to its high rate of childless university graduates and a low employment rate of highly qualified mothers. There are far-reaching statutory provisions on protection against dismissal and part-time work ; For historical reasons , the situation in East and West Germany is very different. A significant change in the framework conditions for reconciliation occurred in Germany in 2006 with the passing of the Federal Parental Allowance and Parental Leave Act . The right to parental leave and parental allowance was reorganized based on Scandinavian models . In Austria there are legal provisions regarding protection against dismissal and part-time work for employees who have been with a company with over 20 employees for three years. In Switzerland , the conditions of compatibility are largely dependent on the employer's discretion.
Nordic countries, particularly Sweden , are seen as exemplary in terms of implementing equal opportunities in family and employment for men and women. France is considered a prime example of nationwide public care for children of all ages, but also for publicly funded, private child care. In Great Britain , the reconciliation of family and work is largely left to individual initiative, but for sections of the population at risk of family and child poverty , it is politically promoted at least in the form of employment integration in the low-wage sector .
The states of the European Union have reached agreements to promote compatibility , some of which are binding in the EU states and some represent recommendations. For example, the planned expansion of the day nurseries in Germany was justified, among other things, by bringing the childcare quota closer to the EU-wide target in accordance with the “ Barcelona goals ”.
The USA has taken extensive measures to ensure equal opportunities for the sexes, but there are far fewer legal requirements for reconciling private and family life with gainful employment than in most industrialized countries. In Japan there is a modernizing traditional understanding of roles, in which high expectations are placed on men in terms of employment and mothers, if they are employed, are often subject to high stresses.
Worldwide there are framework conditions established by the International Labor Organization based on an agreement that obliges each of the acceding states to make it “a goal of national policy that people with family responsibilities who are gainfully employed or want to become gainfully employed are enabled to to exercise their right to do so without exposing themselves to discrimination and, as far as possible, without creating a conflict between their professional and family responsibilities ”. However, only 38 countries have acceded to this agreement so far. In contrast, 184 states signed the CEDAW Convention, which among other things stipulates the expansion of childcare facilities and other supporting social services.
Even if the term compatibility of family and work has only recently become widespread, the compatibility of the requirements of child and sick care and those of securing material livelihoods is an age-old concern. Hunters and gatherers were not yet familiar with a differentiated division of labor or an orientation according to occupations , this came about for the first time with the settling in the Neolithic . Up until the beginning of the modern era , there was a division of labor and rigid gender roles in Europe , without this necessarily excluding women from being employed.
The question of the compatibility of marriage and work is answered explicitly in the negative with the emergence of the priesthood in antiquity (cf. for example the virginity requirement of the vestals and, historically later, priestly celibacy ); in contrast, rabbis in Jewish communities are mostly expected to be married and have children.
The traditions of ancient Rome provided that the male head of the household exercised the domiciliary rights as pater familias and represented the house externally; he was also entitled in principle to the right of life and death over his children, his wife and his slaves . The woman was responsible for the organization and control of the house, which gave her significant authority in this area of life, delegating the domestic work to house slaves according to her social position as mater familias or matrona . In aktiken Rome, wet nurses were sometimes used to look after children, and sometimes women were employed to watch over the babies and not breastfeed them. Although women were present in public, there were hardly any special women's jobs. A woman's activity as a midwife and doctor was highly regarded; Other employment opportunities for women, such as dancers, hetaerae or prostitutes, brought them to a position on the fringes of society. Women in the poorer layers worked outside the home, for example in their husbands' workshops, as traders, as innkeepers or in the textile manufacture.
Even in the Middle Ages, men had to be able to fulfill the role of breadwinner before they could start a family; Women were usually denied or very difficult access to many jobs simply because of their gender, for example in business, politics and science. Nevertheless, in the Middle Ages, many women worked in cities, both in trade and as tradesmen. Often they were widows, and sometimes the couple ran the business together. Women were trained among merchants to be able to run their husbands' business during his travels or in the event of his death. In the handicraft, a large part of the physical work was often done by older sons or servants; many women worked together with their husbands or in some other way.
The social and political influence of family origins was high. Brought so befitting marriages social benefits for the professional conduct of the man with it; Incorrect marriages and illegitimacy were negatively sanctioned . Such roles were less pronounced in poorer sections of the population , especially when it was essential that men and women contributed to family income through employment. In the upper class, the employment of wet nurses and nannies as well as other domestic staff was common, so that a job in the Middle Ages and in the early modern period could easily be reconciled with the family. In the lower classes, actual childhood ended around the age of five; after that, the children were expected to be largely independent and they already had household chores or paid jobs to support the family.
In the agrarian-craft society, household and workplace were mostly closely connected and at the same time a place of socialization for the children (cf. the idealized use of the term “ the whole house ” by Wilhelm Heinrich Riehl ). However, women in rural areas had to bear a multiple burden as a result. “The farmer's wife, like the bourgeois housewife, was also responsible for the reproductive area (family, household, raising children); In addition, the traditional rural women's work (garden, cowshed, raising all young cattle, fattening pigs, poultry) came naturally; and this in turn was joined by numerous partial tasks in the field cultivation (...) ”.
This heavy workload resulted in infants in some European regions not being breastfed at all since the late Middle Ages and being given animal milk or porridge as newborns in all walks of life. There is evidence of this practice for Lower Bavaria , parts of Württemberg , Bohemia , parts of Switzerland , the Austrian Tyrol , northern Italy , Finland , Sweden , Russia and Iceland . In Lower Bavaria this tradition still existed around 1900 with three quarters of all mothers. A south German pastor reported in 1868: “A mother is criticized as being excessively lazy if she makes up her mind and takes the time to breastfeed her child, and that's why in the end she prefers to do it like the others and lets it stay.” The same applied to Sweden. In 1749 the government carried out a nationwide survey because of the high infant mortality rate . It was particularly high in the far north. Here it has been customary for generations to feed babies with cow milk from day one, using a cow horn. If the baby was a little older, the filled horn was hung over the cradle so that the child could drink from it without help. As a reason for this practice, the mothers stated that they did not have time to breastfeed because of their work in agriculture. For centuries, working on one's own farm could not be combined with childcare, any more than working outside the home. At the same time, having one's own children were crucial for personal social security in old age .
In the age of the industrial revolution , the family form of the nuclear family was predominant, especially in urban and industrial areas , and everyday family life was characterized by the separation of household and workplace associated with industrialization and the family-economic necessity of women and child labor . The social grievances of this time resulted in extremely difficult living and working conditions , with social emergencies only partially alleviated by the start of a pension and disability insurance . In the bourgeois culture of the Biedermeier , however, the household determined the sphere of activity of women; this also applied to the affluent bourgeoisie, who had domestic staff. The understanding of the role of family breadwinner and housewife and mother emerged as a bourgeois ideal in the middle of the 19th century and was widespread among the bourgeoisie at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. The development proceeded differently in the states of Europe: the more the bourgeoisie played a major role in the process of modernization , the more the model of male breadwinner established itself . Even after the Second World War, it initially became the social norm in the Federal Republic of Germany as a “bourgeois nuclear family”.
In recent history, culturally shaped patterns and political developments have had a strong impact on the respective conditions in individual countries, for example in Germany .
For certain professions in modern times it was true that women could exercise them, but should give them up if they married; this applied in part to teachers and librarians . A celibacy clause in the employment contract was permissible in Germany until 1957. Conversely, for certain occupational groups such as soldiers and seafarers , even at the beginning of the 21st century, it is difficult for them to have a continuous family life alongside their work .
The source Kersten / Neu / Vogel bypasses the term "compatibility" and uses another formulation option in connection with equality: "... the connection between family and work is the focus of the considerations."
It is expected that family-friendly measures can shorten downtimes and reduce double burdens and thereby reduce the wage gap between men and women (the gender wage gap ) and family-related wage disadvantages, especially differences between women with children and women without children (the family wage gap ).
However, some construction of the balance between work and family can encourage a hierarchization of work in men's and women's work. The Fifth Report of the Federal Republic of Germany on the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women states :
"The Committee fears that measures to reconcile work and family life give rise to stereotypical expectations of women and men."
In particular, research suggests that being entitled to very long maternal-only leave can worsen women's positions in the labor market; on the other hand, the corresponding disadvantages can at least partially be compensated by granting employers advantages when mothers return to work. Even in principle, men and women alike are entitled to rights unequal effect on employability (employability) of men and women show, if they are put into practice more frequently by women to complete.
Polarization of expectations in the workplace
Family duties often collide with normative expectations in the workplace: "Since the male professional understanding and modern work organization require that workers are fully available to the company - even beyond company working hours: for overtime and shift work, further training and business trips, - who potentially take a career break and temporary part-time work, assuming only limited commitment even before starting a family. "
Since women usually spend more time on housework and family work in the distribution of roles in housework and child-rearing , this assessment has an effect on women in particular: women are sometimes considered indiscriminately as "with a fundamental flaw of domestic and maternal obligations" with corresponding effects Hiring and promoting women with the same qualifications. This is especially true for high positions. It is stated that especially for highly qualified jobs the "ethos of comprehensive temporal and spatial availability [...] has proven to be an extremely effective instrument of exclusion" . ( See also: Gender Aspects of Hyperinclusion .)
“The strongest obstacle to organizational change is the old model of male, indivisible managers, which is still firmly anchored in the top management of most companies. It (v) explains the successful managerial career as a sacrificial festival of private life - and by the way regulates access to the sanctum of power: women have to stay outside or leave their time requests at the cloakroom; the men have tamed partners who can withstand managerial life themselves and help to secure it. "
According to a report produced under the direction of the WSI , there is a close connection between the family division of labor, gender-specific career opportunities and prevailing employment relationships. The conception of men's and women's income as “family wages” or “additional earnings” and the norm of working hours that are difficult to reconcile with caring for children and the household, assumed and supported the family form of the breadwinner model. The family division of labor (with women primarily responsible for family work) and the existing career disadvantages of women mutually increased.
Theoretical approaches to explain the differences in the position of men and women on the labor market see one of the main causes for existing disadvantages in the gender-specific division of labor and the attribution of housework and family work to women. Irene Wennemo of the Swedish Trade Union Confederation said that discrimination against women generally occurs before they have children, as employers give them lower pay in advance on the assumption that they will one day have children. Men, on the other hand, would only be discriminated against if they actually took paternity leave. They would then have difficulty maintaining their wages when they return to work. So it seems to be a sensible decision for the couple that mothers take full advantage of parental leave and not share it with the father.
In 2012, Chancellor Angela Merkel called for more respect for men and women who take on family responsibilities, especially with regard to their possible aptitude for leadership roles.
Hierarchization and de-hierarchization
Two phases are considered critical for the process of hierarchization: the phase of career choice and training , and that of starting a family, during which - at least in West Germany - there is often a traditionalization of gender roles in the family and a change in relation to gainful employment. According to a study, however, the subjective evaluation of the profession by women, who give priority to the content of the professional activity over financial and power-related aspects, also contributes to a hierarchy according to gender. Regardless of this, organizational aspects such as a lack of family-friendly time coordination can present parents with specific difficulties, limit their professional opportunities and act as hidden discrimination in the workplace. If necessary, a career kink results due to the synchronicity of crucial years for the career with the years of starting a family. In the long term, there are often negative effects on pension entitlements - despite the inclusion of years of raising children .
A more flexible career biography according to life phases , further training during the family break and a consideration of skills gained during this time, for example in the sense of human and social skills , could support parents in compensating for family-related career disadvantages. Phases of career development and starting a family that are offset over time, in which interruptions do not fall into the career-intensive phase of the first few years of employment, but take place earlier or later, could possibly have less negative effects. Positive effects of more flexible models on equality are expected if the opportunities are also used by men and the time-outs can be used not only for childcare but also, for example, for education and social work . There are also calls for training to be increasingly part-time.
According to the Federal Government's Seventh Family Report, a “dominant male- union work culture” often associated with a presence culture means that fewer women are present in management circles, that family-based reductions in working hours are opposed by men, and that “in management circles, socially important decisions are made by people that have nothing to do with the everyday lives of most people - families, children, the elderly and people who are excluded in other ways " .
It has been suggested that the part-time labor market should be made more attractive in the interests of equality between men and women and that men should be incentivized to do more of the family work. This can happen not only through a legal right to part-time work (already existing in several states) and an expansion of part-time work in all areas of employment, but also through state income equalization to increase the salary of those employees who care for children or relatives. A salary increase based on the level of income is common in Germany for partial retirement and has also existed for looking after young children since the introduction of parental allowance (2007). A right to paternity leave is also mentioned as an option for greater involvement of fathers.
According to the Gender Data Report , in the ten years between 1991/1992 and 2001/2002 there was “a certain convergence” between women and men in terms of the amount of time spent on paid and unpaid work: women turned for unpaid work less time than before and men reduced the time spent on paid work more than women.
Promoting a better work-life balance is sometimes mentioned as an alternative to other measures of equality policy. For example, it is believed that childcare services and flexible working hours make quota regulations superfluous. Others believe that real equality still requires greater political pressure from a quota system.
Unequal treatment due to duties of care is referred to in English as caregiver discrimination or family responsibilities discrimination . Gender and care work obligations are different characteristics, even if they overlap in terms of people and impact.
The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued guidelines on May 23, 2007 regarding the illegal unequal treatment of employees with family responsibilities. Therein it is stated that the Enforcement of Equal Opportunities laws do not prohibit discrimination against carers per se, but that employees who raise children, look after the disabled or look after people in need of care may experience professional disadvantages due to their care obligations, which are covered by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 or the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 are illegal. In particular, discrimination based on caring for disabled people is generally not permitted. The introduction says: “Although the federal EEO laws do not prohibit discrimination against caregivers per se, there are circumstances in which discrimination against caregivers might constitute unlawful disparate treatment.” (Translated: Although the nationwide EEO laws put people at a disadvantage Do not prohibit welfare duties per se, there are circumstances in which unequal treatment of persons with welfare duties constitutes unlawful unequal treatment. ) See also: Political developments on the compatibility of family and work in the USA .
Several states in the USA considered addressing family responsibilities discrimination by law and including criteria such as family status , family responsabilities , parenthood , parental status , marital or family status , familial status , caregiver status in anti-discrimination guidelines or employers forbid asking questions about these areas. In individual states of the USA these regulations have been enshrined in law.
At the European level, it is permissible to particularly promote the professional integration of people with care responsibilities. In Article 6 , the Equal Treatment Framework Directive allows the Member States to provide “that unequal treatment on grounds of age does not constitute discrimination, provided it is objective and reasonable and, within the framework of national law, through a legitimate aim, including in particular legitimate aims in the fields of employment policy, the labor market and VET are understood, justified, and the means to achieve that end are appropriate and necessary ”; Such unequal treatment can include in particular: "The establishment of special conditions for access to employment and vocational training, as well as special employment and working conditions, including conditions for dismissal and remuneration, in order to facilitate the professional integration of young people, older workers and persons with welfare responsibilities promote [...] ".
Criticism of the reconciliation of family and career or the approach of a work-life balance relates to the term and the problem, or to content-related aspects such as setting goals, models, measures and financing.
Criticism of terms
Occasionally it is pointed out that the term compatibility of family and work is based on the assumption of the necessity of an agreement of a priori separate areas of life, and that it is basically about a holistic connection of all areas of life. In this sense, a mere consideration of working hours and reductions in working hours is fundamentally insufficient. Some people prefer the term work-life balance because it is not a question of rigid poles, but rather a balance that, in order to maintain it, requires a constant balancing of various demands and dynamics. But this term also implies a dichotomy between work and (rest of) life. Here will work not as a part of life represented, and as "Life" -Gegenstück to employment leisure, family work and non-work would indiscriminately summarized. The question of balance can be viewed from different angles, for example as a balance between exertion and relaxation . Therefore, the term life balance is sometimes given preference. Sometimes the term life domain balance is also used. This is intended to prevent the conceptual vagueness that assumes that (professional) work ("work") takes place separately and apart from life ("life") . The job, possibly several jobs at the same time, the family, social activities, leisure time and much more. should be understood as different areas of life that should be kept in balance, that do not hinder each other as much as possible (low “life-domains conflict” ) and ideally support each other (high “life-domains facilitation” ).
Conversely, it is criticized that the expression work-life balance conceals the gender issue, social class differences and underlying structural social contradictions and instead promises solutions in the form of an individually achievable balance.
Criticism of objectives
In Germany, Austria and Switzerland, criticism of compatibility models and measures is mostly expressed in the form of a comparison with the single-earner model or the modernized bourgeois model . This emphasizes that the time that is spent on the job is not available for the family and vice versa. In this sense, when both parents (or a single parent) are employed, there is primarily a double burden on the parents and less time for parental child care.
Fears of growing commercialization of areas of life are also expressed. According to a study carried out using the example of a company in the USA, family-friendly measures offered are not or hardly used, and this is related to a change in the meaning of the emotional worlds: In the professional world, personal responsibility and recognition are experienced, but family life is becoming less attractive risk becoming impoverished. It is often emphasized that a gradual disappearance of the single-earner model can be observed, but is possibly more due to economic constraints than to a free choice of parents. On the conservative side, the importance of a traditional role of mother and housewife is emphasized in German-speaking countries , mostly adding that such a role can also be fulfilled by the father. Across Europe, there is experience with different models and roles; this raises the question of whether and how these experiences can be transferred to one's own country.
Critics as well as supporters of the development of German family policy underline the economically and population-politically motivated justification of this policy, with the goals of increasing the birth rate and the female employment rate, reducing child poverty and improving educational opportunities; Critics add that it pursues the goal of full employment of both sexes and is not based on actual needs of the population. From the socialist side, it is criticized that the current debate is based on population policy, not on gender equality or family policy, and is not aimed either at overcoming the gender hierarchy and equality of women, or at improving the everyday living conditions of women, mothers and children.
The philosopher and theologian Andrea Günter sees the intensity of the debate in Germany on compatibility as a concealment of other issues, in particular a perplexity with regard to the general development of gender relations and society.
Criticism regarding implementation and feasibility
The concept of a reconciliation was described by the work-critical group Krisis in its manifesto against work as a "pathetic bourgeois vision" that maintains the separation of the social spheres into (gainful) work and private household, does not remove gender-related role assignments and only for a minority of higher earners, who could delegate housekeeping and childcare to poorly paid female employees, could be lived at all.
Measures such as parental allowance and the planned expansion of crèche places have been criticized , especially with regard to financing, the influence of the state on parental decisions and the question of social justice .
It is often emphasized that the main responsibility for the family and for their work-life balance lies with the parents. Critics underline that families are coming under increasing pressure - through increasing financial pressure, through growing demands on parents in all aspects of child- rearing , through lack of child-friendliness and through an increase in the complexity of everyday life in modern society - and that society as a whole bear too little of this burden.
In Germany, the concept of a work-life balance is sometimes described as unrealistic (as a “chimera”) under the current conditions. In practice, making working hours more flexible would often result in an intensification of performance at the workplace and an even more stringent subordination of private life. Even a model in which both parents cut their working hours in half in order to take over from one another in childcare is “not a real alternative to the traditional division of labor” because of the high loss of income, especially for lower income groups and when the income of the partners varies.
In Germany, the reforms that took place in the labor market, tax and transfer, education and care policy in the 21st century have created a contradicting transition situation with regard to the compatibility of family and work. Spouse splitting, the low financial incentive for employment relationships above the marginal earnings threshold and the structure of the transfer payments offer contradicting financial incentives. They work both for and against individual livelihood security through gainful employment. The existing regulations are strongly shaped by previous political developments and opposing political preferences.
- Werner Eichhorst, Lutz C. Kaiser, Eric Thode, Verena Tobsch: Compatibility of family and work in an international comparison . Between paradigm and practice. Bertelsmann Foundation, Gütersloh 2010, ISBN 978-3-89204-931-9 .
- Alexander Dilger, Irene Gerlach, Helmut Schneider (eds.): Company family policy. Potentials and instruments from a multidisciplinary perspective. VS Verlag, Wiesbaden 2007, ISBN 978-3-531-15396-4 .
- Marc Gärtner: Men and family compatibility. Company personnel policy, actor constellations and organizational cultures. Budrich UniPress, Opladen 2012, ISBN 978-3-86388-020-0 . (Summary)
- Isolde Ludwig, Vanessa Schlevogt, Ute Gerhard, Ute Klammer: managers of everyday life. Working mothers in East and West Germany. edition sigma, Berlin 2002.
- Gabriele Winkler (ed.): Telework and quality of life. To reconcile family and work. Campus, 2001, ISBN 3-593-36870-6 .
- Ilka Sommer, Andreas Heimer, Melanie Henkel: Families with a migration background: life situation, participation in the labor market and the compatibility of family and work. Berlin 2010, (Dossier "Families with a migration background" , PDF; 2.9 MB) , p. 105.
- Research Center for Family-Conscious Personnel Policy Website of the research center for family-conscious personnel policy at the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, which researches the commercial benefits of family-conscious personnel policy.
- Compatibility of family and work / studies , media data from the German education server
- Representative survey “Desire to have children and start a family among women and men with a university degree” - BZgA research portal on sex education
- Foundation for Future Issues - an initiative by British American Tobacco: Lack of time and fear: Why many Germans don't want to start a family , In: Forschungs Aktuell, 255, 35th year, May 15, 2014.
- Rudi Novotny (interviewer): "What's wrong with the fathers?" In: The time. June 20, 2018, accessed on July 12, 2018 (interview with the sociologist Martin Schröder, author of a study on the life satisfaction of fathers and mothers depending on the number of hours worked). Linus Schöpfer (interviewer): “Part-time work makes fathers unhappy”. In: Tages-Anzeiger. July 4, 2018, accessed on July 12, 2018 (on the same topic).
For the peculiarities of individual countries and national regulations, see cross- country and comparative presentations as well as women's and family policy in the GDR: Work-life balance aimed at women
For associations, projects and initiatives, see section “Projects and Initiatives” as well as the corresponding individual references listed below.
Projects and initiatives
- Association of working mothers registered association
- Vaeter eV
- Väter -expert-Netz eV ( Memento from July 8, 2009 in the Internet Archive )
- Alliance for Work-Life Progress ( Memento from August 5, 2013 in the Internet Archive ), professional association for the work-life consulting industry
- Family and work - Familienplanung.de: independent information offer from the Federal Center for Health Education (BZgA)
- Care of the sick child while working - kindergesundheit-info.de: independent information service of the Federal Center for Health Education (BZgA)
- family and studies ( Memento from February 21, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) (www.familie-in-der-hochschule.de)
- compatibility of family and work. DGB, accessed on August 16, 2019 .
- Project "Shaping the compatibility of family and work". (No longer available online.) Archived from the original on September 23, 2013 ; accessed on February 15, 2014 .
- Association for Business and Family eV Accessed on August 16, 2019 .
- MittelstandundFamilie project (initiated by the nationwide initiative "Alliance for the Family")
- 1 year ZeitZeichen information center for innovative working time models in Rhineland-Palatinate: with around 26,000 contacts, very good demand. In: www.openpr.de. May 15, 2006, accessed August 16, 2019 .
- ZeitZeichen: The Project. (No longer available online.) Archived from the original ; accessed on February 16, 2014 .
- Action program reconciliation of work and private life , competence center reconciliation life in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania (ESF-funded action programs from 2010 and 2012 for project support led by the state government of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania)
- Competence Center Work & Family of the State of Baden-Württemberg Information portal for companies and public institutions with background information, work materials and practical examples on the compatibility of work and family
- tempora - Journal for modern working hours on the subject of "family- oriented working hours" Editor Zeitbüro NRW (funded by the Ministry of Labor, Health and Social Affairs NRW and the ESF; PDF file; 1.49 MB)
- Compatibility of work and family www.familie-in-nrw.de
- Platform for Action Familie@Beruf.NRW network platform of the Ministry of Family, Youth, Culture and Sport of North Rhine-Westphalia for work-life balance
- Initiative Actions instead of words. Retrieved on May 7, 2008 (initiative for equality between women and men in the world of work (Austria)).
- Department UND - family and gainful employment for men and women. Retrieved November 1, 2006 .
- Barbara Vinken : The German mother. The long shadow of a myth . Piper Verlag, Munich 2001, ISBN 3-492-03861-1 .
- Michael Opielka : Family and Work. A German story, Chapter I. Family Laboratory Germany. In: Politics and Contemporary History (B 22–23 / 2002). Federal Agency for Civic Education, accessed on August 13, 2006 .
- The New Paradigm Project. Women, Men, Work, Family, and Public Policy. In: Institute for Women and Work, Cornell University. Retrieved January 26, 2008 .
- New study shows fathers' dilemma between work and family. In: The world. March 6, 2006, accessed August 13, 2006 .
- The 1950s - Scientific considerations of a groundbreaking decade , H-Soz-u-Kult, daily report of November 14, 2003 by Andrea Niewerth, organized by Historiker vor Ort eV (HvO) on October 10, 2003 (accessed on November 11, 2003 ) . May 2010)
- Andreas Schaarschuch: Social services in the "service society". (PDF) In: European integration as a challenge - role and reform of social services in Europe, www.soziale-dienste-in-europa.de. October 2001, accessed November 24, 2007 .
- Quote: “In the Federal Republic of Germany, even at weddings, when the trade unions said“ Sundays, Papi belongs to me ”, working hours were 48 hours. Today, the average working time in Germany for women with children is around 22 to 26 hours and for men around 38. A family now provides the labor market with around 60 hours of time, without the associated travel time. ”From: Hans Bertram: Generationenkonflikt oder Generational solidarity? Pp. 249-254. In: Demographic Change. The city, the women and the future. (PDF; 4.2 MB) (No longer available online.) Ministry for Generations, Family, Women and Integration of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, 2006, SS 251 , archived from the original on February 15, 2014 ; accessed on February 15, 2014 .
- Gertrud Nunner-Winkler: Raven mothers? To reconcile family and work. (PDF) (No longer available online.) In: MaxPlanckResearch 2000. Max Planck Society , archived from the original on May 20, 2005 ; Retrieved September 3, 2015 .
- The NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development of the National Institute of Child Health and Development (NICHD), overview ( memento of the original from August 28, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. and list of publications ( Memento of the original from September 22, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (accessed October 6, 2007). See also day nursery # Effect of early childhood day care and child care # Controversies and the web links referenced there. Compare attachment theory # Modification of Bowlby's concept in recent research .
- Michael Opielka: Family and Work. A German story, Chapter II. The parties between women's employment and family benefits. In: Politics and Contemporary History (B 22–23 / 2002). Federal Agency for Civic Education, accessed on August 13, 2006 .
- Compatibility of work and family. (No longer available online.) In: Brief guide to EU employment and social policy . European Commission - Employment and Social Affairs, archived from the original on October 22, 2007 ; Retrieved August 9, 2006 .
- 1.2 Combining work and family life. (No longer available online.) In: An overview of the EU's employment and social policy . European Commission - Employment, Social Affairs and Equality, archived from the original on January 2, 2008 ; Retrieved August 9, 2006 .
- Werner Eichhorst / Eric Thode: Compatibility of family and work - Benchmarking Deutschland Aktuell. (No longer available online.) In: The Online Family Handbook. January 18, 2006, archived from the original on October 10, 2006 ; Retrieved August 8, 2006 .
- Compatibility of family and work. (No longer available online.) Federal Agency for Civic Education, archived from the original on August 25, 2006 ; Retrieved August 8, 2006 .
- Compatibility with family work ( memento of August 25, 2006 in the Internet Archive ), Federal Ministry for Social Security, Generations and Consumer Protection.
- Anna Christen: Family and work - compatibility requires action. (PDF) (No longer available online.) In: ZV 5/06, Zentralverband Staats- und Gemeindepersonal Schweiz. May 2005, archived from the original on February 17, 2014 ; Retrieved May 7, 2008 .
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