Did you know that in the USA there is no paid leave available for new mothers? Working parents cannot take time off to meet their children’s health needs in almost any South-American country, while in Pakistan or Yemen this form of leave is paid. In South East Asian countries like Korea and Japan we can find positive developments concerning work and family life balance policies. Introducing family-friendly workplace practices, providing fatherhood education and family programs, reducing working hours or expanding childcare services are just a few examples. There are countries where social constrains, high poverty and inequality rates make it even more difficult to implement and introduce family and work life policies.
These are some of the issues and facts COFACE’s Vice President Helena Hiila O’Brien has shared with us, after taking part in the Expert group meeting on Good Practice in Family Policy Making at the UN headquarters in New York in May. The meeting aimed to set up recommendations and feed the preparation of the International Year of the Family 2014 when the global community will once again, for the third time, dedicate an entire year to highlight family related questions.
One thing is sure, applying work and family life reconciliation policies could help in the promotion of a fair and sustainable society, reduction of poverty and inequality, improvement of employment opportunities and economic efficiency… but not just in Europe, in other parts of our planet as well.