The figures in the recent population forecast look gloomy, exhausted parents work from home in self-isolation, and fewer and fewer new jobs are available. Does it make any sense at all to try to combine having a family and a career today?
It does. Even the Government Programme aims to increase the flexibility of working time with a view to balancing the harmonisation of work and family and prolonging working careers. In addition, there are many ongoing projects to solve this challenge, including the family leave reform, employment measures, changes to labour legislation, the continuous learning reform and the WORK2030 (TYÖ2030) programme for the development of working life.
What or who needs to change to make working life more family-friendly? The finger is often pointed at the employer. It is true that the employer’s flexible practices, good personnel management, recruitment skills and working culture play a major role in the daily lives of a working parent.
However, there are more parts to the equation. How do legislation and benefits support equal parenthood, part-time work or alternation of leave and work? What attitudes and advice do child and family services pass on to parents about working life? What kind of values does your family or community have about family and work? In addition, have you, as a parent, considered which choices will promote your journey towards a meaningful career and life? How do you identify and maintain the skills you need in working life? Can you seek help if you can no longer cope?
Flexibility at work offers possibilities
In an ideal situation, all parties should contribute to the goal of giving each individual in this country an opportunity to shape their own life, play a role in society, create a family or another community and do well.
Working life has become more uncertain and indistinct, but there is also more flexibility to choose how to make a living. The rules of working life must support the opportunities offered by flexibility, strengthen the mutual trust between labour market actors and promote a working life that is fair and inclusive of all who want to work.
Flexibility and inclusion benefit everyone. A committed, enthusiastic, competent and efficient employee helps the organisation to succeed and to stand out. In turn, a productive and well-functioning company is able to provide its employees with the necessary support and trust to work in a manner suitable to them.
Every one of us can help create a family-friendly working life. Deeds. Not just words. Get started by participating in the challenge #perheystävällisiätekoja.
Anna Toni, Senior Specialist, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment