ALICANTE Province has been criticised for not working harder to provide a better work and life balance.
The work-life balance is a problem in all western countries and, indeed, the progress report of the European Family Policy Institute was evident of lack of labour flexibility. Just under 30 per cent of European workers have some measure of flexibility, but in Spain the rigidity of hours affected 88.2 per cent of workers.
Maternity and paternity time was reported as being short with poor social support and above all, a widespread lack of appreciation toward motherhood by many businesses was hindering reconciliation of work and family life.
In the province it was reported that there are few companies that apply measures for flexible working hours beyond those required by law and those, according to unions, are not always met. Some offer the possibility of working from home with telecommuting, childcare within the workplace, nursery vouchers, extending the period of maternity leave or more flexible hours. In general the measures are insufficient and exceptional said Yolanda Diaz Serra, Secretary of Equality and Social Policy of the UGT union: “I wish we were much better in the province, but it is not consistent. Most women who are responsible for children or dependants have part time contracts but many are then asked to do overtime as the company demands, so balance is very difficult.”
Consuelo Navarro, Secretary General of CCOO union agreed: “Work-life balance is an issue that affects men and women and there are many difficulties as there are also pressures on companies.”