Conference Agenda

RN13_06b: Work-family balance and work-family conflicts II
Thursday, 22/Aug/2019:
2:00pm - 3:30pm

Session Chair: Inga Laß, University of Melbourne
Session Chair: Karin Jarnkvist, Mid Sweden University
Location: UP.2.219
University of Manchester Building: University Place, Second Floor Oxford Road


The Invisible Plot Between Work And Family: The Couple Dimension As Reconciliation Mediator

Maria Letizia Bosoni, Sara Mazzucchelli, Silvia Donato

Catholic University Of Milan Italy

In the contemporary social context, where the transition to parenthood takes place later than in the past and the demand for flexibility and mobility at work are growing, the family and work domains are more intertwined. Thus, a sustainable balance is a priority for family wellbeing. Although reconciliation tasks are expected to be more challenging for young couple, with the first child, it would be wrong to consider senior workers without work-family balance responsibilities.

This under investigated topic – senior workers work-family reconciliation –has been the object of a research project in Italy called “Ageless Talents - An observatory on the condition of over 50 employed women” funded by a company private association (Valore D) carried out in 2017 (wave 1) and 2018 (wave 2). In the presentation we will present results from wave 2 (2018), by an online survey on a sample of 12.746 workers (63,6% men and 36,1% women) aged between 50 and 70 (average age 55,30), employed in 34 companies in different sectors.As expected, almost all the respondents (79%) have children, often adolescents, and most of them has two children. A little but relevant group (14,5%) have grandchildren to care, too.Results showed that the work and family balance is challenging for over 50 workers: 60% of respondents say to have problems in reconciling family care and job. Through a cluster analysis it was possible to identify different groups based on the presence of reconciliation problems mainly at work, at home or on both dimensions. Multivariate analysis also highlighted how the couple is an important factor, in terms of relationship with the partner, trust and support. The presentation will further discuss these results.

Family Policy and Forms of Child Day-care in Selected European Countries

Vera Kucharova, Olga Nesporova

Research Institute for Labour and Social Affairs, Prague, Czech Republic

The paper focuses on use of childcare for preschool children in selected European states with different models of maternal employment. Comparative approach tries to relate care arrangements with family policy measures. Childcare policies and practices in post-communist countries are compared in the wider European context, i.e. with various European countries representing the principal types of welfare states and family policy strategies. An analysis is based namely on Eurostat data (EU-SILC) and OECD data from Family Database. The used methodology is based on sociological classification methods and scatter plots.

Not only do we focus on parental leave schemes, parental employment and formal childcare, but we also take into account informal childcare, which is crucial to the reconciliation issue in many countries. Our findings revealed that use of formal childcare is not straightforwardly related with neither length of paid parental leave, not maternal employment. Informal childcare, mostly provided by grandparents, is on weekly basis used for at least thirty per cent of preschool children in all post-communist countries under study except Bulgaria. However, similarly high levels of informal childcare were also find in the United Kingdom, Italy and Austria. Gendered moral rationalities based on cultural norms plays an important role in division of childcare in each European state.

Early Child-care Types and Parents’ Well-being and Work-Family Balance

Marieke Heers, Valérie-Anne Ryser

FORS, c/o University of Lausanne

A growing number of parents relies on non-parental child-care to enable them managing the simultaneous demands of work and family. Yet, evidence on the relationship between child-care arrangements and parental outcomes is lacking. Therefore, based on 16 waves of the Swiss Household Panel this study investigates (1) what child-care patterns, parental, non-institutionalized and institutionalized care, parents of 0 to 4-year-old children use; and, (2) how these arrangements relate to different domains of parents’ subjective well-being (defined as life satisfaction, positive and negative affects) and work-family balance. The Swiss case is particularly interesting for studying how early child-care relates to different domains of parents’ subjective well-being and work family balance, as child-care is limited in offer and costly.

Results from multilevel models indicate that, compared to institutionalized and mixed child-care, grandparental care positively influences several dimensions of parents’ subjective wellbeing and work-family organization. Namely, compared to the use of grandparent child-care, the use of formal and mixed child-care modes tend to decrease general life satisfaction, while mixed child-care modes tend to increase the negative affect. Falling back on relatives, institutions or mixed child-care modes decreases the positive affect. Finally, mixed child-care modes tend to increase the difficulty to combine work and family life.

A potential explanation is that grandparental childcare is more flexible than the other arrangements. It has a less rigid character than institutional care and offers parents psychological relief and emotional support helping them to maintain a better overall quality of life.

The Association Between Childcare Use and Parental Mental Health Across Europe

Nikolett Somogyi1, Wim Van Lanker2, Sarah Van de Velde1

1University of Antwerp, Belgium; 2KU Leuven, Belgium

Parents across Europe make use of institutional childcare at very different levels when it comes to caring for young children (younger than three years old). Childcare choices are reflections of the combinations of welfare policies, cultural norms and economic situations (both at micro- and macro-levels). These all affect personal decisions regarding what type(s) of childcare to use: parental care, formal care via institutions, or informal care provided by family members. Drawing on identity theory, parents are likely to experience distress when they do not feel like performing their salient parental role well, that is in accordance with socially defined expectations. Little research examined how childcare choice correlates with parental mental health especially with taking into account the cultural and policy environment. Therefore, in this study, we examined how the use of formal childcare services or informal care may associate with parental well-being in dual earner couples, in the light of country-level variables. Our main resource was wave 2013 of the EU-SILC dataset and we applied multilevel modelling framework. The analysis found that in general, parents who use either formal or informal childcare report lower levels of well-being compared to parents who do not use any of these childcare types. The majority of the macro-level variables proved to be insignificant on the dependent variable. The results suggest that the impact of using formal childcare services on mental well-being has less to do with country-level policies or cultural values than with social status, family situation, and job characteristics.