The Council of Europe and Family Policy

Reconciling work and family life

The Council of Europe considers that “the reconciliation of work and family life, promoting as it does self-fulfilment in public, professional, social and family life, is a precondition for a meaningful quality of life and for the full exercise of fundamental human rights in the economic and social sphere”

(Recommendation No. R (1996) 5 on Reconciling Work and Family Life)

Policy measures to facilitate the reconciliation of work and family life should be taken at national level in order to respond to the following social rights stated in the Revised European Social Charter:

    § Article 1, which contains an undertaking to ensure the effective exercise of the right to work;
    § Article 20 concerning the right to equal opportunities and equal treatment in matters of employment and occupation without discrimination on the grounds of sex;
    § Article 27 concerning the right of workers with family responsibilities to equal opportunities and equal treatment.

Therefore, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe adopted in 1996 a Recommendation on Reconciling Work and Family Life that calls for action in the following policy areas:

    § the organisation of working time
    § the abolition of discrimination between women and men in the labour market
    § the development of adequately financed services in favour of families
    § the adaptation of social security schemes and tax systems to the increasing diversity in working patterns
    § the organisation of school time and curricula