Not all local municipalities provide childcare services, improve environment and develop infrastructure for the residents to spend their leisure time.
Childcare services may be one of the tools to promote work-family reconciliation for parents living in the area and may also be used as a part of the local municipality employment policies, as with their childcare issues settled parents can be more successfully involved in the job market. In the context of work-family reconciliation, it is important for the childcare services to be available to all parents with small children and the time the services are available should match the parents’ working hours.
Does your local municipality provide childcare services for people with non-standard working hours?
Nice and accessible environment is important for people to choose a place for their home. Accessible environment is important for both parents with young children and people with special needs as it allows groups of people to use and enjoy opportunities offered by the local municipality.
To create a successful support policy for work-family reconciliation, local municipality should understand the needs of local people in terms of balancing work and home:
- To establish working hours of the most companies working in their area;
- How it affects life of local employees, e.g. whether they can take their children to school or nursery and pick them up.
You can get this information by:
- Starting a dialogue about these issues with entrepreneurs;
- Having a survey in nurseries asking parents about their preferred nursery hours to satisfy their needs.
Some local municipalities have already considered the work and home balance issues and found ways to reduce the conflict between work and family life for the parents. For example, after meeting of Valmiera officials with representatives of the largest company in the city, nursery hours were extended for 30 minutes so that people working for that company could pick up their children. Before that, the nursery closed at the same time the shift ended, which prevented people from working well or picking their children from the nursery.
Local municipalities are also employers and supporting work-family reconciliation may become part of their HR policy. In this context, it is important to understand the following:
- What options do local authority employees have to balance their work and family life?
- As an employer, what kind of support the local authority is willing to provide (flexible hours or working from home, childcare support, no night shifts for parents with small children, e.g. in the municipal police, etc.)?
- What are legal limitations for the local municipalities, e.g. provisions of law ‘On payments to officials and employees of the state and local authorities’?