Czech Republic: Conference highlights difficulties for carers in labour market participation
Research findings presented during a conference on informal caregivers in the Czech Republic revealed the difficulties that workers providing long-term care face in participating in the labour force due to a lack of flexible working regimes and part-time jobs.
On 16 June 2015, the conference ‘What is the life of informal caregivers? Current situation and needs of caregivers in the Czech Republic’ organised by the Fund of Further Education (FDV) was held in Prague.
Researchers presented first results from an extensive survey of informal caregivers who are the main providers of care for dependent persons in the Czech Republic. One of the conference sections dealt with the issue of economic (in)activity of informal caregivers. The results emphasise the profound lack of flexible working regimes and part-time jobs in the Czech labour market, which would enable informal caregivers to reach a better balance of working life and caring responsibilities. Only 10% of the research sample were part-time workers (that is, 25% of those respondents who participated in the labour market).
The data show that 27% of people who were working full time before they began their caring duties were forced to completely terminate their job. A similar proportion (28%) of informal caregivers were able to continue in their full time job. Only 8% of caregivers were given the opportunity to reduce their working hours and choose part-time work. On the other hand, for those people who had worked part-time before they were involved in caring for relatives, it was more feasible to keep their job. Around 60% of such respondents reported that they continued working part-time despite their caring duties. For those persons who had been unemployed before beginning to care, returning to the labour market after the period of care-giving was very difficult, 44% remaining unemployed.
Some 61% of those respondents who had been looking for a job over the 12 months prior to the survey reported that the lack of part-time jobs prevented them from (re-)entering the labour market; around 40% reported that employers were unwilling apply family-friendly measures. An interruption of economic activity due to caring responsibilities often resulted often in a respondents having a limited potential for returning to the labour market even after the period of care came to an end.