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Opportunities to reconcile family and work

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Reports of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health 2007:16
Myhrman, Rolf & Säntti, Riitta
government document
Publication Date: 
8 Mar 2007

NOTE: See Chapter 6 (pp.103-114): Parental leaves, child care policies and mothers' employment in Finland and Sweden: A comparison This chapter is a summary of the study "Nordic breadwinner-caretaker models &em; a comparison of Finland and Sweden" (Haataja 2006), written originally in Finnish. The aim of the study is to compare the Finnish and Swedish family leave and child care systems as well as to evaluate how they relate to the sharing of child care between women and men and to women's and men's gainful employment. The focus is, in particular, on developments in the 1990s and the beginning of the 21st century, but family leaves, women's and men's employment and demographic changes are also looked at in the long term. Full report abstract: During two decades occupational well-being has been promoted in Finland within the so-called tyky-framework (promotion of work ability). The results indicate that personnel well-being may site in the absolute strategic center of firm. The work-life balance has become one of the major concerns in industrialised countries. The female labour participation lies in the heart of three vital areas: productivity, high employment, and fertility. Productivity and the competitiveness are not only determined within firms; welfare policy has a significant impact on the success of firms. The efforts to increase women's employment have not been contradictory to the favourable trend in fertility. Pension crediting for child care periods should be good enough for promoting gender equality in caring work and pension benefits of both parents. More balanced participation of both parents in the caring work of children would encourage both women's employment and have a positive effect on fertility rates. The major decision that a household with children makes, is whether or not the female enters labour force, and if she does, when. This determines the subsequent time allocation within the family. The resulting time allocation with the families with children, as in other household types, seems surprisingly similar across countries. The family leave schemes carry with them an inherent equality paradox. They have been created to support women in their combining of employment and family, but the practical realisations of the schemes are contradictory from the point of view of gender equality.