Flexible Work Practices, Workplace-Related Policies and Individual Strategies for Reconciling Eldercare and Paid Employment. Findings from the European Carers@Work Project

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 11:00 AM
Room: Booth 40
Oral Presentation
Andreas HOFF , Faculty of Social Sciences, Zittau-Görlitz University, Goerlitz, Germany
Monika REICHERT , Technical University Dortmund, Dortmund, Germany
Jolanta PEREK-BIALAS , Department of Demography and Statistics, Warsaw School of Economics & Jagiellonian University Cracow, Warsaw, Poland
Andrea PRINCIPI , INRCA, Ancona, Italy
Faced with a historically unprecedented process of demographic ageing many European socities extended the working lives of older workers, with the side-effect that working carers have to juggle the conflicting demands of employment and care-giving even longer. This does not only impinge on working carers‘ wellbeing and ability to continue providing care, it also affects European enterprises‘ capacity to generate growth which increasingly rely on ageing workforces.

The focus of this paper will be a cross-national comparison of flexible work practices and other workplace-related company policies aimed at enabling working carers to reconcile both conflicting roles in four different European welfare states – Germany, Italy, Poland, and the UK – based on expert interviews with human resource managers and 240 semi-structured interviews with working carers in the four countries. It is analyzed to what extent these company-based measures are path-dependent according to the respective welfare state / care regimes, which resulted in diverging degrees of state intervention and support and, subsequently, varying levels of company-based policies. However, a key finding of the research was a trend towards converging individual reconciliation strategies in the four countries. Finally, varying degrees of gender inequality in the provision of care will be examined.