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Equal opportunities and work life balance in an economic perspective: direct and indirect effects Liss Schanke Norwegian Association of Local and Regional.

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Presentation on theme: "Equal opportunities and work life balance in an economic perspective: direct and indirect effects Liss Schanke Norwegian Association of Local and Regional."— Presentation transcript:

1 Equal opportunities and work life balance in an economic perspective: direct and indirect effects Liss Schanke Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities

2 WORK LIFE BALANCE PROJECTS – Projects in Spain and Portugal – Very different projects: National, political and economic situations project focus and levels project partners and promoters Project activities – Broad bilateral input, municipalities, enterprises, trade unions, reseachers, NGOs – Challenges: Bilateral cooperation and mutual learning – not easy Simple terminology: gender? Mainstrreaming? Focusing on specific actions and concrete results

3 Different elements and approaches National economic mechanisms and legislation,- e.g. regarding parental leave Local services for children and elderly, public, private, voluntary – e.g. kindergartens Labour policies, including working hours, pay gap, management styles, delegation, recruitment – e.g. through social dialogue Integration of men and the male perspective – by women and men

4 DIRECT ECONOMIC ASPECTS Equal opportunities and work life balance can be studied and justified from many perspectives: human rights, democracy, sociology, quality This presentation is focusing on the economic perspectives - direct economic effects and indirect economic effects

5 Effect on birth rate and demographic balance WLB makes it easier for couples to have children The sustainble birth rate is 2.1. The rates in Europe vary between 1.3 and 2.2. Low birth rates means future economic problems: few adults to support the elderly

6 Effect on employment WLB implies new jobs, e.g. kindergartens and institutions, public sector management New jobs imply higher employment rate and a flexible labour market There is a positive link between women’s employment rate and Gross National Product

7 Effect on taxes and consumption Taxes 2 salaries families generally earn more than 1 salary families - and pay more taxes Taxes are the basis for all public services: schools, hospitals, kindergartens, transport, institutions Consumption 2 salaries families generally consume more, - especially if they have children Higher consume is positive for private sector: restaurants, shops, factories, services

8 INDIRECT ECONOMIC ASPECTS No easy answers Short and long term Vary between countries and cultures Different national context, different indirect economic effects E.g. short and long lunch break…

9 Better private sector company boards Mr. A. Gabrielsen, former conservative minister for private sector, initiated the 2003 Law on 40% quota in reg.private company boards Argument: Success of private companies depend on HR quality; they need to utilize all human resources Ex:Women board members: 2003: 6%, 2009: 40%

10 Better care for the elderly Number of persons over 80 doubled by 2035, new employees needed Presently 10% male employees in care for the elderly Campaign: diversity and quality: more men in care jobs Pilot projects: men can try a job in this sector, 8 weeks with full salary

11 Effects of unemployment Effects on unemployed adults and youth: motivation, capacity Effects on children, friends, siblings Effects of unemploy- ment on taxes/pensions Effects of «unregistered labour market» on busi- ness competion/quality

12 Effects of day care On demographic growth On parents’ possibility for education/employment On children’s capacity and motivation for education – especially immigrant or marginalized children On public and private sector competence in a global competitive economy

13 Effects of postponed retirement Continued payment of income taxes – reduced payment of pensions More active elderly people - happier and healthier 2012: EU year for the active elderly Foto jobb

14 Effects on productivity Does flexible working hours/place give more satisfied workers? Does more satisfied workers give increased productivity? Is working more productive than 08-20? Is presentism productive? Best Practice: Flexibility in Bærum

15 Effects on social capital Many forms of capital, economic, cultural, social Putnam: «SC is the collective value of all social networks and the inclinations that arise from these n. to do thing for each other» More networks with than 08-20? 2011: EU voluntary year Best Practice: Voluntary centre in Mandal

16 Effects on male role Work life balance may imply a new role for men in their own family WLB may open up new jobs for men in kindergartens, institutions for elderly etc. More men in care may imply higher total quality of care Best Practice: REFORM and Free Choice Vest Agder

17 GENERAL EFFECTS OF ECONOMIC EQUALITY Main message: Society benefits from greater economic equality – not only the poor – but the whole population. Examples: Life expectancy, literacy, infant mortality, homicides, imprisonment, mental illness, drug addiction, trust…………..

18 Income differences between the richest and poorest 20%

19 Index of: Life expectancy Math & Literacy Infant mortality Homicides Imprisonment Teenage births Trust Obesity Mental illness – incl. drug & alcohol addiction Social mobility Health and Social Problems Source: Wilkinson & Pickett, The Spirit Level (2009)

20 CONCLUDING REMARKS - Equality between women and men and work life balance that promotes demographic balance and labour participation is a basis for a sustainable economy - A sustainable economy is a basis for equality between women and men


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