[Excerpt] Extended working lives and life expectancies mean that increasing numbers of workers in Europe, especially older workers, are now providing care for dependent relatives while they are in employment. Although many actors are involved in providing care – the state, family, companies and social partners – it is still for the most part delivered by unpaid family members. Given the range of institutional policy frameworks with vested interests in the area of reconciling work and care, it is difficult to arrive at a coordinated strategy. Families often tend to organise care themselves, delegating care to family members who have the least opportunity costs. But with increasing employment participation at an older age, carers are nowadays more likely to be still engaged in paid work.
This report highlights the issue of people of working age combining employment with providing care to dependent relatives, either children or older persons. It analyses the situation of working carers, how they manage to combine work and care and what measures are available to support them in their responsibilities beyond their professional activity. The study examines developments in national labour legislation, collective agreements and company initiatives. It is based on responses to a questionnaire completed by Eurofound’s network of European correspondents in all 28 EU Member States.