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Babies and Bosses ‐ Reconciling Work and Family Life (Volume 2) Austria, Ireland and Japan: Balancing Time at Work with Care Responsibilities

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This chapter analyses how workplace practices affect the behaviour of parents who are trying to find their preferred balance of work and care commitments. The chapter contains a concise summary of industrial relations and prevailing employment conditions, which in all three countries, but particularly in Japan, are characterized by a long working hours culture. In practice, this means that fathers in Japan hardly spend any time with their children, while many mothers therefore find it difficult to imagine that rearing a child and having a career are not mutually exclusive activities. The chapter also analyses the duality in the Japanese labour market and explains why so many mothers with older children are in low‐paid non‐regular employment. The chapter ends with a discussion of persisting gender roles in workplace cultures and considers why family‐friendly workplace measures are not more common. In that context, two recent innovative Austrian and Japanese initiatives are discussed which try to tie the concept of family‐friendly workplace measures to individual enterprise needs, while also committing employers on a long‐term basis. Such initiatives deserve a wider application in Austria and Japan, while Irish policy makers should consider adopting a similar approach...

Document Type: Review Article

Publication date: November 1, 2003


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