Reconciling family and professional life in Poland - preferences vs. practices

Ewelina Slotwinska-Roslanowska, Warsaw School of Economics

The aim of the article is to present people’s perception of maternity and parental leaves as main measures used to reconcile family and professional life along with employers’ opinions about these measures. In parallel, a detailed description of recent family policy changes in Poland is provided, which focuses on leave regulations. The main aim of that approach is to compare preferences of employees and employers and the legal changes made by the government. Due to the two-direction-analysis the paper is divided into two main sections – the first dealing with the issue of preferred family policy model (based on sample surveys of women and employers), whereas the latter describes the family policy changes. According to the results of survey of mothers of 2006 in Poland a majority of women opt for substantial changes in the regulations concerning maternity and parental leaves. These views of women are fully shared by employers, who would also welcome longer maternity breaks as long as the maternity leave consists of the obligatory (preferably very short) and the voluntary part. Stronger oppositions between mothers and employers arise in case of flexibility at work. The opposite ideas relate also to childcare facilities to be provided by the employers, which seems to be to complicated from the organizational point of view and costly. On the other hand it gives the employer the opportunity to design care in the way to guarantee the most effective work of mothers. The article tries also therefore to answer the question how far the law influences the personal choice of an individual working mother and to what extend it is the matter of pressure of the environment, beliefs or stereotypes.

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Presented in Session 88: Parental leave policies in European countries