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Work and Care under Pressure

Work and Care under Pressure: Care Arrangements across Europe

Blanche Le Bihan
Claude Martin
Trudie Knijn
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  • Book Info
    Work and Care under Pressure
    Book Description:

    In many European countries tensions have arisen between the demands of the labor market and the caregiving responsibilities workers must fulfill at home. Examining these tensions,Work and Care under Pressurefocuses on two groups of people who must juggle work and caregiving: parents of young children who work nonstandard hours and working adults who care for older parents. Based on empirical evidence from six European countries, this volume sheds light on the social effects of national policies and the choices made by caregivers. It is an essential resource for researchers, scholars, and policy makers interested in social policy.

    eISBN: 978-90-485-1916-3
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. I Introduction Workers under pressure and social care arrangements: A research framework
    (pp. 7-32)
    Trudie Knijn, Claude Martin and Blanche Le Bihan

    Reconciling work and family life – or reaching a work-family balance, as it has been called recently in the literature (Guest 2002; Frone 2003; Abigail & Milner 2003; Hantrais & Ackers 2005; Van der Lippe, Jager & Kops 2006; Van der Lippe & Peters 2007; Lewis 2009a; Hobson 2011) – is at the core of Europe’s social policy agenda as well as that of many of its member states. It has also been the subject of (comparative) academic research ever since the 1970s. For much of the last four decennia, the focus of social policies (and of many academic studies) has been...

  2. 2 Work-family balance in the Netherlands Work and care culture mediating between institutions and practices
    (pp. 33-56)
    Trudie Kniji and Barbara Da Roit

    The experience of working caregivers varies across European countries due to differences in family policies, flexible labour market policies (leave and transition policies) and the availability of care services (for children and elderly people). Comparative research underlines that in the Netherlands, the conflict between work and care is relatively weak compared to other countries in Europe (McGinnity & Calvert 2009; Chung 2011). Heejung Chung found that only one-third of the employed population in the Netherlands reports experiencing problems with fulfilling household tasks due to work obligations, compared with the European average of about 50 per cent. And according to the...

  3. 3 Negotiating gender equality, atypical work hours and caring responsibilities The case of Sweden
    (pp. 57-78)
    Sofia Björk, Ulla Björnberg and Hans Ekbrand

    This chapter looks at the possibilities of reconciling paid work and care of young children and elderly parents in situations where employees are subjected to increasing expectations of availability for both work and family life. Our analytical focus is on the impact of ongoing care policy changes and labour market transformations on gender equality in the negotiation of care responsibilities within families. In Sweden, as in many other countries, time pressure or stress among employees has become a heavily debated topic in recent times. In particular, the role of flexible working and non-standard work hours in the generation of differential...

  4. 4 Caregiving and paid work in Germany The impact of social inequality
    (pp. 79-100)
    Wolfgang Keck, Christina Klenner, Sabine Neukirch and Chiara Saraceno

    Caregivers develop their care arrangements in a context shaped by many factors: the degree of caregiving needed, other caregiving and familial demands, the degree to which caregiving tasks may be shared within the family and informal networks as well as with non-family services, and conditions at work. The interaction of these multiple factors and their variability over time render each case unique to some degree. Yet the policy framework along with the individual and household socio-economic resources are powerful elements in structuring the range of available options, particularly with regard to the two dimensions that are crucial for the viability...

  5. 5 Working caregivers ‘living under pressure’ in France
    (pp. 101-124)
    Blanche Le Bihan, Claude Martin and Arnaud Campéon

    The debate in France on the balance between family and professional life is developing in a relatively paradoxical context. With one of the highest fertility rates in Europe (two children per woman in 2010, 2011 and 2012) and with nearly 60 per cent of women between the ages of 15 and 64 working (for the most part full-time), childcare services and nursery schools offer a wide range of care solutions. Nonetheless, stress levels among parents remain high, especially in comparison with other European countries, as shown by Crompton in 2006. In the light of these results, what Crompton callswork-life...

  6. 6 Negotiating work and care in changing welfare regime The case of Portugal
    (pp. 125-150)
    Karin Wall, Sanda Samitca and Sónia Correia

    The main aim of this chapter is to examine how families in Portugal caring for young children or old people in need of care reconcile their work and caring responsibilities. As in other southern European countries, important changes have taken place over the last few decades that have affected the balance between work and family life. Female activity rates have been rising since the 1960s, reaching 69 per cent in 2008, and changes in both the attitudes to and the economic behaviour of women have led to the continuing decline of the male breadwinner model. At the policy level, Portuguese society...

  7. 7 Blurring boundaries and clashing loyaties Working and caring in Italy
    (pp. 151-170)
    Manuela Naldini, Elisabetta Donati and Barbara Da Roit

    This chapter focuses on the impact of combining care and work on couples with small children and on children who take care of older parents in Italy. This requires a consideration of the ways in which family, work and private and social life are affected by this experience. But it also highlights the fact that, in a context of a highly familialised care system like Italy’s, solutions to reduce the pressures on parents who work (with atypical jobs or working hours) are provided by generations who are soon likely to be in need of care themselves, while at the same...

  8. 8 The changing mix of care in six European countries
    (pp. 171-194)
    Manuella Naldini, Karin Wall and Blanche Le Bihan

    Care arrangements have changed significantly in Europe over the last 40 years in the context of shifting gender cultural models, labour markets and welfare systems. While policies introduced immediately after World War II were largely based on a male breadwinner/female home caregiver model, post-1970s policies have emphasised a move away from male breadwinning and an increase in female employment rates and greater state responsibility for working caregivers through leave systems and services. Schemes involving leave to care for the elderly or other family members, early educational services for young children and services/institutions to support elderly persons – even if diverse in...