Family responsibilities, workers with
Family responsibilities cover the care of and support for dependent children and other members of the immediate family who need help. National policies should aim at creating effective equality of opportunity and treatment for female and male workers, and for workers with and without family responsibilities.
All workers - both men and women - should be able to engage in employment without being subject to discrimination and, to the extent possible, without conflict between their employment and family responsibilities. They should be free from restrictions based on family responsibilities when preparing for and entering, participating in or advancing in economic activity.
The needs of workers with family responsibilities should particularly be taken into account when planning and developing or promoting community services such as childcare and family services and facilities. Public information and education programmes should be carried out on the situation of these workers. Flexibility in working conditions and in social security should be promoted through:
The worlds of "work" and "family" have, for decades, largely been regarded as two totally different spheres in which men's and women's roles were diverse - and in some cultures still are. Men's commitment to paid work has been seen as central to their lives, and enterprises have developed a culture which values long hours of work. Women's commitment to paid work has been seen as secondary to, and limited by, their commitment to unpaid care work in the family.
In the more recent past, the opinion gained ground that changes in the traditional role of men in work organization were needed to ensure that women enjoyed equal opportunities at work. This is reflected in the Workers with Family Responsibilities Convention (No. 156) of 1981, and in new national legislation on the matter. In the European Union, too, a Directive on parental leave was adopted in 1996.
→ see also Childcare and family services and facilities and Parental leave
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