Network G Reconciling family and professional life, as well as the reintegration of men and women who have left the labour market, by developing more flexible and effective forms of work organisation and support services.
Project name The Flexible Worker – The Partnership Family
Project number G0051

Project description

The Development Partnership was established to elaborate a comprehensive strategy of activities intended to facilitate reconciliation of career with family life. The Project is targeted at parents of children 7 or less years old and pregnant women. Its objective is to ensure an improvement in the status of women on the labour market (to promote employment of women).

Any attempts (usually made by women) to reconcile professional obligation with household responsibilities are associated with high costs to the family and an impairment in work efficiency. On the other hand, resigning from occupational career leads to rapid obsolescence of women's skills, which is an additional factor of women's discrimination on the labour market.

Under Activity 1, the Development Partnership carried out surveys and consulted employers, employees, representatives of kindergartens, nurseries and parents of children under the age of seven. Survey results indicate that in order to prevent labour market discrimination of young mothers, an integrated system of family assistance has to be built and based on cooperation between employers, trade unions, labour offices and scientific research/training institutions.

In an attempt to work out instruments helping women to follow a professional career without sacrificing family life, the Development Partnership entered the following four key areas of activity: a) to promote flexible family-friendly forms of employment; b) to broaden access to children care/ educational establishments; c) to promote a wider involvement of men in household activities; d) to prevent obsolescence of vocational skills of men and women due to a break in employment caused by family obligations.

Flexible forms of employment help to adjust working time (in terms of hours worked and structure) to situations dictated by the family life. Flexible employment seminars and consultation/ awareness centres established to this effect are intended to better inform young parents and employers of non-standard time employment opportunities. The promotion of these forms of employment will be supported by testing flexible employment (e.g. tele-working) in enterprises and a competition for the most family-friendly company. A series of training events and the introduction of flexible employment will follow an extensive awareness campaign intended to reach as many potential beneficiaries as possible.

As a result of Project implementation, the best approaches to bringing performance of child care/educational establishments closer to the needs of working parents will be worked out. A model for cooperation between various players, including employers, will be developed to provide families with children care assistance. The Development Partnership is planning to provide for additional employment in children care/educational establishments by hosting placements for graduates from studies in pedagogy, in cooperation with poviat labour offices. The new solutions will be available to all establishments, not only to those participating in the Project. A competition will be held for the child care establishment which is best friendly to the parents' needs.

An awareness campaign was delivered under the Project to promote a wider involvement of men in family life and encouraging them to take parental leaves. The campaign involved distribution of leaflets, TV and radio broadcasts, posters and a series of seminars and meetings for children promoting a partner model of contemporary family.

In order to prevent obsolescence of vocational skills during a break in employment caused by family obligations, training events are held so that beneficiaries are able to sustain contact with their jobs, children are provided with care when the beneficiaries attend training events and job advice on planning individual career paths is given to enable reconciliation of career with family obligations.

Final beneficiaries will be involved in evaluation and development of job counseling procedures, training programmes and the techniques of introducing flexible forms of employment. The collaboration with beneficiaries will survive the Partnership by securing their involvement in: a) continued implementation of the Project strategy in collaboration with government administration units and regional social partners; b) continuation of training, job counseling programmes, researching techniques of introducing flexible forms of employment and the services of consultation/awareness centres supported by labour market institutions; and c) maintenance of establishments by labour councils as flexible child care centres adjusted to the parents' needs.

The dissemination of good practices and merging them with mainstream policies will be accomplished by publication of informational materials, hosting of conferences, seminars and competitions and cooperation with institutions that are responsible for policy making on the local, regional, national and Community levels.