Work and life balance

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Abstract:

The ability to combine work, family commitments and personal life is important for the wellbeing of all household members. It is also important for society as a whole, as it ensures that people have sufficient time to socialise and participate in the life of the community. This chapter presents a selection of indicators that describe the distribution of people's time between paid work, time with family, commuting, leisure and personal care. The balance of work and non‐work activities has changed considerably in recent decades, with overall gains in leisure and reductions in hours worked. However, these trends conceal the increased complexity of people's lives, with both men and women taking on a wider variety of tasks in the workplace and at home. The distribution of tasks within the family is still influenced by gender roles: men are more likely to work longer hours of paid work, while women spend longer hours in unpaid domestic work. While gender imbalances are shaped by culture, policy makers can help to address the issue by encouraging supportive and flexible working practices, thereby making it easier for parents to strike a better balance between work and home life.

Document Type: Review Article

Publication date: October 1, 2011

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