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MODULE 6 - Unit 6

WORK LIFE BALANCE & European dimension


Case studies

European Commission of Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion published a brochure with 20 best practice examples of EU-funded projects that have promoted work-life balance in the EU’s Member States. We describe here, four of them.ItalyIn 2005, the Autonomous Province of Trento recognised that the cost of care services for children, especially in early years, are so expansive. Due to this, parents – usually mothers – take a break from work. So, it decided to introduced service vouchers for reconciliation between work and family. The vouchers are designed to be flexible and depended on various factors such as the hourly cost of the requested service, the child’s age, and the number of hours worked by the applicant parent. The project was funded with ESF 2014- 2020 programme.


SpainIn Spain, and in other EU countries, women continuous to be underrepresented in the market labour. In 2014, the regional government of Spain’s northern region of La Rioja took the initiative to incorporate a gender perspective into all of its actions, by changing how it drafted its calls for grants. With the inclusion of a new assessment criterion on work-life balance and equal opportunities between women and men. Approximately 79% of the realities that participated in the project have implemented measures such as preparing spaces for breastfeeding and questionnaires for employees to know their statement about work-life balance. The project was in line in the Spain’s strategic plan for equal opportunities 2014-2016 (El Plan Estratégico de Igualdad de Oportunidades 2014-2016).


RomaniaFrom 2011 to 2013 EU promoted an international funded project to share and improve teleworking for life-work reconciliation, especially with the aim of promoting women participation and mobility. In Romania the project was implemented by INCSMPS, the country’s National Scientific Research Institute for Labour and Social Protection. The research carried out by INCSMPS showed Romania to be underdeveloped with respect to telework, so the project created a ‘virtual learning platform’ to encourage it. Moreover, the project had the aim to promote telework at employer level, targeting managers and human resource directors to highlight the benefits.This brochure was published before Covid-19 pandemic. Europe and the world has changed dramatically since the first COVID-19 cases appeared in the EU in early 2020. Now with the return to “normal life“, using instruments for a correct work life balance is crucial. On the work front, the re-opening of schools and childcare facilities has reduced the extreme work–life balance conflicts that people were forced to deal with during the pandemic, but people, especially those aged 30–44 years who typically have young children, expressed the will to continue to telework – daily or several times a week. In addition, there is an increase in worries relating to home life, with workers feeling that their job prevents them from spending time with their family.


So here there are some top advice to promote a good work-life balance for employees post-COVID-19:

  • Lead by example
Those in leadership positions should lead by examples and establish start and end time of work to respect their own and others personal time.
  • Provide appropriate equipment
In 2021, the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) found that 48% of surveyed employees who worked from a sofa or bedroom said they had musculoskeletal problems, so it is necessary to provide technical support.
  • Create home/work divide
Of the employees surveyed for the RSPH report, 56% of those who worked from home found it hard to switch off after work. One advice is create separated home/work place or, if it isn’t possible, put away work things after finishing.
  • Offer flexible working hours
Taking advantage of a good flexible working day can help employees to also have commitments outside working hours, such as childcare or health appointments.


PortugalIn Portugal there is also a law for teleworking. Law 83/2021 of 6 December (“Law 83/2021”) amends the Portuguese Labour Code (“PLC”) and the legislation on occupational accidents (Law 98/2009 of 4 September). It modifies the regulation of teleworking and introduces a general duty on employers to refrain from contacting employees outside their working hours. This law came into force on 1 January 2022. The new teleworking legislation also changed the definition of teleworking itself “the provision of work by an employee under the legal subordination of an employer, in a place not determined by the latter, through the use of information and communication technologies". Thus, the requirement of regularity (habitualidade) that until now characterised this way of working has been removed. This change suggests that the new rules are to apply to all remote working arrangements, including hybrid or mixed models (i.e. where only part of an employee’s working time is performed remotely).


In conclusion, the International Network on Leave Policies and Research has been producing an annual review of leave policies and related research since 2005, here the 2021 report:


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