Good work-life balance promotes the well-being of workers. It can also contribute to achieving major EU policy goals: stimulating employment (especially among women and older workers); promoting child and youth development; and encouraging gender equality.
In Europe, more than one worker in five expresses dissatisfaction with their work-life balance. Conflicts between work and other aspects of life can be caused by long hours, difficult schedules or intense periods at work, as well as by the demands of unpaid work in the home, particularly domestic chores and the care of children and the elderly.
Achieving work-life balance can be made easier by family-oriented policies such as social benefits, employment-protected leave for parents and affordable formal arrangements for family care. Flexibility in the organisation of work (part-time work, flexible working time and telework) can also have an enabling effect.
The EU works with Member States (MS) and social partners to establish rules and promote best practices that favour work-life balance. The European Parliament and the Council Presidency have suggested that 2014 be designated the European Year for Reconciling Work and Family Life.