Work-life balance

29 Kasım 2022

Work–life balance refers to the level of prioritisation between an individual’s work and personalRead more

Work–life balance refers to the level of prioritisation between an individual’s work and personal life. A good work–life balance is achieved when an individual’s right to a fulfilled life inside and outside paid work is accepted and respected as the norm – to the mutual benefit of the individual, business and society. Enabling a better work–life balance for workers across the life course has been an EU policy goal for many years as it is central to ensuring that work is sustainable for all. 

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Recent updates

Working conditions in the time of COVID-19: Implications for the future

The strict public health restrictions implemented by governments in 2020 to control the COVID-19 pandemic abruptly...

COVID-19 crisis deepened gender divides at work and home

The impact of the COVID-19 crisis has deepened the traditional gender divides across many areas including the labour...

COVID-19 pandemic and the gender divide at work and home

The COVID-19 pandemic has accentuated inequalities in many dimensions of European societies, including inequalities...

EU context

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On 17 November 2017, the European Parliament, the Council and the European Commission formally proclaimed the European Pillar of Social Rights, which included an initiative to support work–life balancRead more

On 17 November 2017, the European Parliament, the Council and the European Commission formally proclaimed the European Pillar of Social Rights, which included an initiative to support work–life balance. Subsequently, in June 2019, the Council adopted a new Directive on work–life balance for parents and carers. The Directive aims to increase women's participation in the labour market and outlines a number of new or improved minimum standards for parental, paternity and carer’s leave, as well as flexible working arrangements, aiming to also increase men's take-up of these.

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Research

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Work–life balance continues to be a significant research topic for Eurofound, in its surveys and other studies.

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Work–life balance continues to be a significant research topic for Eurofound, in its surveys and other studies.

Survey data on work–life balance issues

Eurofound’s European Quality of Life Surveys (EQLS) provide comparisons between countries on the reconciliation of work and family life, flexible working time arrangements and the provision of quality care services. The European Company Surveys (ECS) provide data on why and how companies make use of a broad variety of working time arrangements. The European Working Conditions Surveys (EWCS) look at the organisation of working time across the EU and issues related to it including flexible arrangements, working time preferences and work–life balance.

COVID-19 and work–life balance

Eurofound’s unique e-survey, Living, working and COVID-19, provides a snapshot of the impact of the changes that occurred during the pandemic on people’s lives, with the aim of helping policymakers shape the response to the crisis. Conducted in five rounds during 2020, 2021 and 2022, it allows for comparison of the challenges that arose during the different stages of living through the pandemic. A range of questions focus on people’s work situation, their level of teleworking during COVID-19, experiences of working from home and the impact on work–life balance. 

The latest findings, published in July 2022 show that despite some improvement in work–life balance issues, there has been a sharp decline in family time among workers in 2022, with almost 30% reporting that their job is preventing them from spending time with their family, from a much lower 19% in 2020. 

Working life and work–life balance

Eurofound gathers information on working life in the EU, looking at national and EU-level policies to promote work–life balance and investigating the role of social dialogue and collective bargaining in this area.

Research investigates the opportunities for working time flexibility and improved work–life balance related to digitisation and platform work, linked with the labour market integration of specific groups, such as those with care responsibilities or health issues. 

In its research on working conditions and sustainable work, Eurofound has looked at the implications for work–life balance for parents and caregivers. 

In the context of the negotiations on the work–life balance package at EU level, and at the European Commission’s request, Eurofound has produced a review of national statistics on the uptake of family-related leave by fathers over time across the EU Member States and Norway.

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Publications & data

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The sections below provide access to a range of publications, data and ongoing work on this topic. 

  • Publications (315)
  • Veri
  • Ongoing work

Ongoing work

Research continues in this topic on a variety of themes, which are outlined below with links to forthcoming titles.