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Putting the Welfare of the Child at the Heart of the Reconciliation of Work and Family Life Principle: A Role for Grandparents?

posted on 2023-01-24, 14:33 authored by Ruksar Sattar
Parents worldwide have long been confronted by the demands of participating in paid work whilst also fulfilling their caring responsibilities. Over the years, the United Kingdom’s legal framework has significantly changed to address the evolving social reality and the European Union has played a pivotal role in this through the gradual development of the reconciliation of work and family life principle. Despite the introduction of a dynamic set of policies and measures focusing on the tension inherent in juggling between work and caring responsibilities, studies show that an increasing number of working parents are relying on the provision of informal childcare by grandparents. Whilst recognising the valuable contributions of the existing work-life balance measures towards the promotion of a family-friendly workplace, this research argues that little attention has been paid to the welfare of the child and to the role that grandparents tend to play in this area. Accordingly, this research makes a case for the adoption of a child-friendly reconciliation framework.
In view of that, this research is organised as follows. The first three chapters argue that, as the public/private dichotomy is an unsuitable theoretical framework, the capabilities approach and the ethic of care theory should be adopted as the combined language to underpin the reconciliation principle. The following two chapters make a case for the adoption of a child-friendly reconciliation framework, to include the need to recognise and value the vital role that an increasing number of grandparents are playing in this area through the provision of informal childcare. Against this background, the next three chapters undertake a comprehensive analysis of the main work-life balance measures – leave, time and childcare – to reveal the extent to which the underlying theme of child welfare is missing from the equation. Finally, the last chapter makes suggestions towards a child-friendly reconciliation framework.



Eugenia Caracciolo di Torella; Pascale Lorber

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School of Law

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University of Leicester

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