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A family-friendly working life? Policy and practice in the dual-earner society.

Research project Swedish family policy aims to make it possible for parents to combine work and family, and the law gives parents a range of tools to adapt their work to family needs. However, there is evidence suggesting that these tools are insufficient. The project examines whether Swedish family policy gives parents a positive control over stressors in work and family, and if and how this varies by gender and class.

The project comprises two integrated steps: * In step one, we examine how parents' strategies for balancing work and family interact with their actual possibilities to adapt work to family needs. A key question is whether parents actually can make use of their statutory rights (flexible use of parental leave, shortened weekly working hours, leave to take care of sick children), and how and why these options are used/not used. We also study what the statutory rights mean in relation to demands from work and family, and how they may influence opportunities in modern 'flexible' working life, as well as how strategies to combine work and family vary by gender and class. * In step 2 , we examine how parents' strategies and working conditions relate to the degree of conflict between work and family ('work -family conflict'), that is, the experience that work creates a negative stress in family life. Here we also consider alternative measures of stress and well-being.

Head of project

Ida Öun
Associate professor
E-mail
Email

Project overview

Project period:

2016-10-03 2019-12-12

Participating departments and units at Umeå University

Department of Sociology, Faculty of Social Sciences

Research subject

Sociology

Project description

Swedish family policy aims to make it possible for parents to combine work and family, and the law gives parents a range of tools to adapt their work to family needs. However, there is evidence suggesting that these tools are insufficient.

The project is based on a survey of 5000 parents of young children and is designed to examine whether Swedish family policy gives parents a positive control over stressors in work and family, and if and how this varies by gender and class.

The project comprises two integrated steps:

* In step one, we examine how parents' strategies for balancing work and family interact with their actual possibilities to adapt work to family needs. A key question is whether parents actually can make use of their statutory rights (flexible use of parental leave, shortened weekly working hours, leave to take care of sick children), and how and why these options are used/not used. We also study what the statutory rights mean in relation to demands from work and family, and how they may influence opportunities in modern 'flexible' working life, as well as how strategies to combine work and family vary by gender and class.

* In step 2 , we examine how parents' strategies and working conditions relate to the degree of conflict between work and family ('work -family conflict'), that is, the experience that work creates a negative stress in family life. Here we also consider alternative measures of stress and well-being.

The project allows for a close study of the everyday life of parents of young children - a group that is in the center of Swedish family policy.

Due to the lack of studies focusing on the actual importance of family policy for parents' ability to balance demands of work and family, the project can contribute with empirical knowledge with an obvious relevance for policy making. Theoretically, the project contributes to research on work-family conflict, but also to research pertaining to the psychosocial work environment as well as international welfare research.