Academics to share European workcare findings

Paternity leave for fathers and the provision of care for young children will be amongst topics under the spotlight at two events hosted by the University of Aberdeen next month.

Latest findings from European Union (EU) funded research into how people across Europe combine work and childcare, will be shared with audiences at the forums in Edinburgh and London.

Social scientists from the University collaborated with academics from across Europe in the three year study which compared policies for work and care across all European countries, with a special focus on the UK, Italy, Hungary and Poland, Austria, Denmark and Portugal,

The research explored the effectiveness of the different countries’ policies in providing a positive work/life balance leading to a high quality of life.

Key findings from the study - which could help shape future workcare policies - include:

  • The need for the development of better policies across Europe concerning “daddy leave”.
  • A shortage in many European countries of good quality affordable childcare especially for children under three years. This is especially the case in the UK.
  • The extent to which people can control their work and care arrangements differs by social class with better educated parents having a wider range of choices about how they organise work and care.
  • Across Europe kin and friends provide important support and grandparents provide an important resource in emergencies – although in those countries without a good provision of affordable childcare there is a higher reliance on kin.
  • Full provision of childcare need not be more costly than staying at home.
  • The need for greater flexibility in working conditions to create a better quality of life for families.

The findings will be shared with politicians, civil servants and other relevant parties and individuals at the events, which take place at Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh on October 14 and The British Academy in London on October 15.

Professor Claire Wallace, Director of Research, College of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Aberdeen who led the study said: “The overarching aim of the study was to determine the impact workcare policies in these seven European countries have on the quality of life experienced by parents.

“The findings have allowed us to develop a big picture of European patterns of work and care which we will share with policy makers and interested parties at these events next month. 

“Academics involved in the project will speak at each of the events, followed by a question and answer session which will open up the opportunity for discussion and debate with the audience.”

For more information or to book a place at one of the Workcare: Dissemination events contact Nikki Musgrave or Linda Critchley on or 01224 272523 .

The event is free to attend and pre-registration is required.