One person aged 18-64 out of 3 (33 %) experiences difficulties in reconciling work and family life. The main obstacles are demanding or exhausting jobs, long working hours and unpredictable or difficult work schedules.
This is what emerged from the new results of Statbel, the Belgian statistical office. In 2018, more than 27,000 persons aged 18-64 were asked about the reconciliation between work and family life (related to the Labour Force Survey).
37.3 % of highly-skilled people face obstacles reconciling work and family life. The percentage is 28.6 % for low-skilled people and 29.3 % for medium-skilled people. They report as main reasons demanding or exhausting jobs, followed by long working hours and long commute. For 80% of the self-employed the reconciliation between work and family life is also difficult : 19.4 % of them indicate that long working hours upset the balance between work and family life.
Among the regions, the difficulties are greater in Wallonia (44.2%) than in Brussels (33.8%) and Flanders (27.3%). In Wallonia is the long commute a significant obstacle.
One respondent out of 3 (34.8 %) indicated taking care of children or incapacitated relatives. This percentage is just slightly higher for women (37.2 %) than for men (32.4 %). Caring for young children is central for people aged 25-49, while people aged 50 and over are more likely to care for incapacitated relatives compared to other age groups. Employed persons also have care responsibilities more often (41 %) than unemployed (31.6 %) and inactive people (20.4 %).
14.7 % of respondents with young children have reduced their number of working hours in order to make the work and family life balance more bearable. This is particularly the case for women (24.2 %) compared to men (5.6 %). Highly-skilled people also reduce their working hours more often (17.8 %) than medium-skilled people (12.6 %) and low-skilled people (9.3 %). People in Flanders have reduced their working hours more often (15.4 %) than in Wallonia (13.6 %) and in Brussels (13.4%).
This survey is being carried out with a Eurostat grant.