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Date of publication: 27 May 2005
Finding a suitable work/family life balance is a challenge that all parents face. Many parents and children in Canada, Finland, Sweden and the United Kingdom are happy with their existing work and care outcomes. However, many others feel seriously constrained in one way or another, and their personal well-being suffers as a consequence. Some people would like to have children, but do not see how they could square that major commitment with their current employment situation. Other parents are happy with the number of children in the family, but would like to work more, either to find a greater sense of self-fulfilment, or to increase family income, or both. Yet others are happy with their family situation, but may wish to work different or reduced hours to spend more time with their children. They often do not do so because they cannot afford a pay cut or because they do not want to put their career prospects at risk.
If parents cannot achieve their desired work/family life balance, not only is their welfare lower but economic development is also curtailed through reduced labour supply by parents. A reduction of birth rates has obvious implications for future labour supply as well as the financial sustainability of social protection systems. As parenting is also crucial to child development, and thus the shape of future societies, policy makers have many reasons to help parents find a better work/family balance. This study covers Canada (in particular the province of Québec), Finland, Sweden and the United Kingdom. It considers how a wide range of policies, including tax/benefit policies, childcare policy, and employment and workplace practices help determine parental labour market outcomes and may impinge on family formation. This volume also includes some options for policy reform towards a better reconciliation of work and family commitments in the four countries in question.
This book is part of the Babies and Bosses series, consisting of comparative studies of work and family reconciliation policies.
To get a more comprehensive picture of reconciliation policies, please consult the initial Babies and Bosses volume on Australia, Denmark and the Netherlands , which was published in 2002, the second volume on Austria, Ireland and Japan, which was published in 2003, and the third volume on New Zealand, Portugal and Switzerland, which was released in 2004.
Already published in this series:
Volume 1. Australia, Denmark, The Netherlands
Volume 2. Austria, Ireland, Japan
Volume 3. New Zealand, Portugal, Switzerland
Country notes - Canada, Finland, Sweden, United Kingdom
Selection of tables and charts
This publication can be obtained from: OECDiLibrary