Work–Family Balance, Gender and Policy
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Work–Family Balance, Gender and Policy

Jane Lewis

This important book looks at the three main components of work–family policy packages – childcare services, flexible working patterns and entitlements to leave from work in order to care – across EU15 Member States, with comparative reference to the US. It also provides an in-depth examination of developments in the UK. Variations in national priorities, policy instruments, established policy orientations and the context for policy making in terms of employment patterns, fertility behaviour and attitudes towards work and care are highlighted.
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Chapter 4: Patterns of Development in Work–Family Balance Policies for Parents in France, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK During the 2000s with Trudie Knijn, Claude Martin and Ilona Ostner

Jane Lewis


4. Patterns of development in work–family balance policies for parents in France, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK during the 2000s Co-authored with Trudie Knijn, Claude Martin and Ilona Ostner* A role for the state in reconciling family responsibilities and employment has long been admitted in all the countries considered in more detail in this chapter, except the UK. In these countries, as in most other Western European Union (EU) Member States, policies designed to permit the combination of paid and unpaid work in the form of services for childcare,1 care leaves, and reduced and/or flexible working hours have been subject to debate and varying degrees of reform in the 2000s, and in most countries have assumed greater prominence. As we have seen, governments have promoted, and have been encouraged to promote, work and family policies as a means of addressing a wide range of challenges facing Western welfare states (for example, OECD, 2005, 2007). The main concern has been to raise employment rates and to encourage flexible working for men and women, particularly mothers. But this core goal has been joined to the need to tackle a number of other pressing issues: population ageing (by enabling women to earn and thereby improving the dependency ratio); falling fertility rates, particularly in Germany; child poverty, particularly in the UK; children’s development, particularly in Germany after the shock of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)’s cross-national educational assessments and in the UK (OECD, 2001a; Evers et al...

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