EurWORK European Observatory of Working Life

Country updates

  • Nowadays, for many employees, successfully combining work and non-work has
    become a major challenge that sometimes creates problems or conflicts. The
    process whereby work demands negatively affect one’s functioning in the
    home domain is defined as ‘work–home interference’. This situation is
    assumed to be associated with health complaints since prolonged mental and/or
    physical preoccupation with work during non-work time limits the
    opportunities to recover from the effort expended at work. A sustained lack
    of recovery will eventually manifest itself in health complaints. The reverse
    process – that is, health complaints leading to work–home interference
    – may also emerge, because it is possible that employees suffering from
    health complaints are more susceptible to experiencing a negative influence
    of work on their private life.

  • In June 2004, the National Statistical Institute (NSI [1]) carried out an ad
    hoc labour market survey as part of the harmonised EU programme for business
    and consumer surveys. The survey was conducted in the industry, retail trade
    and services sectors. Employers in 3,131 enterprises were interviewed about
    the employment structure in their company, the present situation and
    attitudes towards increasing internal flexibility through changes in the
    company’s organisation of working time.


  • On 19 July 2006, the Department of Safety, Health and Environment and the
    Working Women’s Department of the Cyprus Workers’ Confederation
    (Συνομοσπονδία Εργαζομένων Κύπρου, SΕΚ [1])
    published a nationally representative study entitled /Safety and health in
    the workplace: Reconciliation of family and work/. The study’s conclusions
    were based on personal interviews in the workplace, conducted on a random
    sample of 600 working women aged 18–65 years who are employed as sales
    workers, cashiers and clerks. The research examined issues of safety, health
    and work–life balance [2].


  • The nationwide research programme ‘Increasing the attractiveness of working
    life’, conducted as part of the VETO programme (in Finnish) [1] under the
    auspices of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health [2] (Sosiaali- ja
    terveysministeriö), has financed projects which focus on employees who are
    ageing or who have families. One such study, /Mothers and fathers in the
    labour market 1989-2002/2003/, carried out in 2005 by Anita Haataja of the
    Government Institute for Economic Research (Valtion taloudellinen
    tutkimuskeskus, VATT [3]), provides background information on the position of
    parents in the labour market. As the data from 2003 were flawed, some of the
    results are given only up to 2002 – the timescale is specified in the text
    where it includes 2003. The main research objective was to examine trends in
    the employment of women and men, and to identify the extent to which
    work–life balance [4] policies influence the situation of parents and of
    those without children.


  • Towards the end of 2006, the Spanish Social and Economic Council (Consejo
    Económico y Social, CES [1]) presented in its quarterly bulletin an analysis
    on the issue of reconciling work and family life in Spain. This study is
    based on a special module (in Spanish) [2] within the Labour Force Survey (in
    Spanish) [3] carried out by the National Statistical Office (Instituto
    Nacional de Estadística, INE [4]) and supported by Eurostat [5].


  • In March 2005, the Employment and Training Corporation (ETC [1]) published
    the findings of a research project entitled ‘An enabling framework for
    telework’ (425Kb PDF) [2]. The study provides details of the current local
    situation with regard to telework [3] and identifies the developmental
    changes that are occurring in the labour market, most of which are due to
    technological advances in the information technology (IT) sector. As no
    comprehensive legal framework covering telework exists yet in Malta, this
    form of work is being used on an informal or ad hoc basis.

    [2] Enabling Framework for Telework.pdf

  • Interrupting one’s career to take parental leave has been an option in the
    Czech Republic, in comparison with other European countries, for a relatively
    long period of time. Until a child reaches the age of three years, employees
    with children are guaranteed the possibility of returning to their original
    job following a period of parental leave. However, employers do not have to
    adhere to this obligation if they decide to restructure the workforce or
    change the production programme. In some professions, a three-year absence is
    considered too long a time to maintain the required qualifications to
    continue the job without knowledge of developments in the profession or
    ongoing practice.

  • The National Thematic Network on reconciliation of family and working life
    was set up in 2003 for the purpose of highlighting good practice developed
    after completion of national projects financed under the European
    Commission’s EQUAL Initiative [1]. The network aimed to further disseminate
    these practices to international organisations and agencies, and relate them
    directly to European developments.


  • To combine work and family life represents a highly complex task for families
    with young children, in particular for working parents with children below
    school age. Working parents face challenges in relation to their work, such
    as forced part-time work [1], shift and weekend work, as well as in relation
    to the cost of childcare [2]. In addition, opening hours of childcare
    facilities for young children also influence the type of childcare chosen by
    working parents.