Your story

Do your working hours fit in with your family or social commitments outside work?
Are you facing obstacles to reconcile your Work and Family Life?

Send your story to aperez@coface-eu.org. Thank you!

newsmarch03-testimonials

You can read below some of the testimonials we have already received:

One part-time employee always present at work
My employer, a customer service company, always places two part-time employees in one team. This enables both of them to flexibly adjust the working hours amongst themselves based on their current family situations. This arrangement ensures that there is always one part-time employee at work regardless of whether the one has an acute situation in the family, for example a small child sick at home. In a company where knowing the customers is a key to success, this is a win-win situation both for the employer and the employees.
(Finland, woman, two children)

I can’t even imagine the reaction of my superiors at such an announcement
As an executive within a large company, and as a man, I wish I could enjoy some time with my future child to be born in September through parental leave. I am in favour of equality between men and women but there’s a catch: I can’t even imagine the reaction of my superiors at such an announcement. The image of a man who takes his responsibilities and who takes care of his family should appeal to any employer, yet it’s the opposite. As a man and as an executive, nowadays and in many companies, you must assume your role, manage stress, be present. Leave my job, even for a few months, remains unthinkable. Coming back would be more difficult. So what’s the solution? A shorter leave, but paid and compulsory for men?
(France, man, one child)

I can say goodbye to promotions, but I don’t mind the sacrifice
Well, in my opinion, you either have work life, or you have family life, but in Spain these two lives don’t reconcile. I took a year off because I would not leave my child in a nursery until he is one year old. I was able to afford it because I sold my flat and I now live on rent. But with only one salary it’s impossible. And I realize that my hierarchy now has its own opinion on me, especially because when I return, I will ask to work part-time. And as they say around here, it’s not well seen, so I can say goodbye to promotions, but I don’t mind the sacrifice, so long as my son can see that it is unfair.
(Spain, woman, one child)

Flexible solutions for agreeing on holidays
In my company we used to have an issue with the length of the summer vacation period. In Finland the main school vacation period is between June and mid-August. However, the vacation period (May−September) in our company and vacation shifts set by the company meant that even during two consecutive years parents did not have any opportunity to be on a summer vacation with their school-aged children or as a family as a whole. My company solved this issue in two ways: by shortening the summer vacation period and also making it possible to take the summer vacation in two parts. These changes have helped us a lot and enabled parents to have their holidays more suitable for their school-aged children and their family life.

(Finland, man, two children)

I would not hesitate a second to take a six months leave if the financial loss was less important
My wife took a year of parental leave for our second child, I envied her because I really wanted to take it too. But at the time, with a salary 50% higher than hers, the loss was really too important. For our third child, if my wife takes a leave for a year or two, I would not hesitate a second to take a six-month leave if the loss is less significant. Women are less paid because they have less continuous careers, and men do not take leaves because they have higher wages. This logic should be broken to allow a higher number of men to make the choice to spend more time with their families.
(France, man, two children)

I vowed to always work to gain recognition and to be open to the outside world
Seeing my mother work for her children, one of whom had multiple disabilities, I vowed to always work to gain recognition and to be open to the outside world. However, when it was my turn to have a disabled child and two valid children, I had no other choice than working part-time. This work allowed me however to stay closer to ordinary life and to avoid being a prisoner of my own particular family unit.
(France, woman, three children)

I can only see my children two hours a day
I work in a construction company and my working hours are from 9 to 7 pm. I have been struggling for some time now to establish a “parents working time”: working without a break and to go back home at a “decent” hour. I need to spend more time with my family, I can only see my children two hours a day and then we are all very tired and we don’t really enjoy it. This Monday I dared to go to HR to request doing my 8 hours withour interruption (I thought of it every Monday and never dared to do it), the response was cordial but clear: “We’ll see this with the direction and we’ll keep you informed.” Honestly, I have no hope that this will change.
(Spain, woman, 3 children)

It is challenging to keep the balance
I love my children. I love the work I am doing. I would love if they would live in harmony together. It is challenging to keep the balance, they keep yelling at one another. Organizations can do a lot for supporting work-life balance with flexible arrangements, working from home, concentrating on the achievements and the delivery of tasks rather than on the time spent in the office. They need to empower women to feel good about both and they can gain a lot from the dedication!
(Hungary, woman, mum of twins).

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