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Title: Implementing legislative measures and remedies to enhance a suitable balance between work and family life
Authors: Galea, Krystle
Keywords: Work-life balance
Work-life balance -- Malta
Equality -- Malta
Issue Date: 2007
Citation: Galea, K. (2007). Implementing legislative measures and remedies to enhance a suitable balance between work and family life (Master's dissertation).
Abstract: The debate on work family balance has formed an issue for detailed examination over the past years. Among the major challenges which families are facing in the twenty first century is the struggle to strike a balance between work and family life. Work is essential both for personal development as well as to improve the quality of life of the family. However, work can be taken to excess, to the extent of depriving the person of an adequate commitment to the family. Women continue to bear the greater burden of unpaid work with over just one third of the labour force (36%) at the same time as more men are expressing the desire for greater involvement with their children. There is also growing community awareness of the importance for children of active fathering and a concern about the future burden of caring given Malta's ageing population. If family friendly policies at the workplace are not available to men and women, their participation within the family will be limited. Recent measures were introduced for employees' in the public sector however we are still far from a labour market which offers friendly measures to the family, especially in the private sector. An area which requires special attention in the local context is certainly the review of provisions applicable to the gap between private and public sectors. In practice, for example, despite these developments, the official female employment ratio is still one of the lowest in comparison to European standards. It would be in line with government policy to facilitate the increased participation of women in the labour market to have the provisions revised. This thesis shall focus on issues for women employees with care giving responsibilities and it examines whether claims to gender equality can be sustained, in the context of traditional features of Malta's society and social policy, in particular the male breadwinner model of the family that underpins much of social, political and economic life in Malta. This study shall analyse the range of options available to Maltese families for balancing their paid work and family obligations, and consider what may shape these choices. In particular, I will explore whether the traditional model of the man as breadwinner and woman as primary carer continues to shape our behaviour, in spite of the array of choices theoretically now available. I will consider whether current practices entrench understandings of work life balance as a 'women's issue', implying that balancing paid and caring work is women's responsibility. While there is evidenceof a change in the attitudes of both men and women towards sharing the load of caring and domestic work, a persistent inequality between men and women in the division of this labour remains. A discussion of the institutional, cultural and policy changes needed to ensure that both women and men have access to family friendly employment provisions and must consider the division of caring responsibilities between men and women, and how the gendered allocation of caring and household labour may affect parenting and paid work arrangements. In the past years Maltese workers through Maltese and European Union legislations achieved various family friendly working conditions such as parental and maternity leave, other concepts like flexible working hours, job sharing and reduced hours are being introduced gradually through collective bargaining. Behind these aims lay a concern for policy implications. The thrust of recent debate has been directed at the barriers that women face in entering and re-entering the labour force. What are the prospects, in contrast, for actively engaging men in parenthood and housework? Even from a labour market point of view, men's willingness to do housework and childcare means an increase in women's potential from undertaking paid employment. There is also the importance of men's contribution to family life. How deleterious are men's employment experiences to their contribution to the family outside the narrowly economic one of breadwinner? What policy options might be feasible given present practices and cultural attitudes? The aim of this thesis is to tackle the most relevant and problematic issues to balance work and life and to explore the rationale for government policies to improve work-life balance. The issue is believed to require attention both in terms of equal opportunities to the labour market as well as the need to raise the employment rate and to ensure a full utilisation of the potential of the Maltese labour supply.
Description: LL.D.
Appears in Collections:Dissertations - FacLaw - 1958-2009

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