Reconciliation of Professional and Family Life in Collective Agreements: Role of Social Partners in the Promotion of Gender Equality (GEQUAL)

Project duration: March 5, 2015 - April 30, 2016.
Project leader: prof. dr. Barbara Kresal
Project team: dr. Katarina Kresal Šoltes, dr. Ragnhild Steen Jensen, mag. Andreja Poje, mag. Maja Skorupan, Kristin Alsos, Karim Bajt Učakar, Irena Štamfelj.

The main activities in the project include:

  • research on the work-life balance measures in collective agreements and on the role of social partners in promoting gender equality;
  • bilateral exchange of experiences and good practices between the Norwegian and the Slovenian partners;
  • designing of the educational model and carrying out a number of workshops;
  • development of a model regulation of work-life balance measures which support gender equality for future collective bargaining.

Gender equality is a fundamental principle of the contemporary legal systems, written in numerous international acts and national constitutions. Yet, legal regulation is not enough for actual implementation of this fundamental principle in practice; integral approach and complex policies in all areas of life are needed. Social partners should have an important role and take their part of responsibility, especially for the implementation of this principle in the field of labour relations. European social partners emphasize this, too (Framework of Actions on Gender Equality). There are big differences between countries in this regard; nevertheless, the issue is at the heart of the debate in the whole EU (Broughton, A. (2011), Reconciliation of work, private and family life in the European Union, Eurofound, Dublin).

The role of social partners and collective agreements regulating workers' rights is crucial for reducing the existing inequalities on the labour market, removing the obstacles faced by women in their professional career and designing effective supportive measures for better work-life balance etc. It is important to mention that Slovenia is one of the countries where collective bargaining is well developed and covers a high percentage of workers (Kresal Šoltes, K. (2012), Vsebina kolektivne pogodbe, GV, Ljubljana, p. 257) and can, therefore, have a significant impact in this area. A well developed collective bargaining on different levels, within different branches, professions and at the employer's level offers better possibilities for greater flexibility and diversity of reconciliation measures, taking into account special features of a particular profession, branch, particular company and needs of working parents.

It seems that the role of social partners and collective agreements for the promotion of gender equality is partly overlooked. Therefore it is necessary to strengthen the knowledge and the awareness and to promote research in this field - this is the aim of this project. Slovenian social partners include some issues regarding equal treatment in collective bargaining; however, not enough attention is paid to this issue and no systematic, integral and proactive approach of social partners can be observed (Kresal, B. (2013), Okvir ukrepov za enakost spolov, In: Several authors (2013), Vodnik po sporazumih evropskih socialnih partnerjev z vidika vsebin za kolektivna pogajanja, IDPF, Ljubljana, p. 109).

The project's aim is to raise knowledge and awareness of social partners about the importance of work-life balance measures, which support gender equality and can raise company performance, as well as possibilities to regulate them in collective agreements. Within the project, the research on the work-life balance measures in collective agreements and on the role of social partners in promoting gender equality will be carried out. Collective agreements will be analysed and the opinions and attitudes of the employers' and the employees' side as regards the benefits and obstacles for the regulation of these measures in collective agreements gathered. Transfer of the Norwegian knowledge and experiences as regards concrete ways and methods of how to include these issues into collective bargaining can be used by social partners in Slovenia in their future collective bargaining. Educational module on the reconciliation of family and working life will be prepared and on its basis several workshops will be carried out. Within the project the model regulation of particular reconciliation measures in collective agreements will be designed which can be used by social partners and their negotiators either in the negotiations for a framework collective agreement on work-life balance or in the negotiations for the inclusion of particular reconciliation measures in the future collective agreements, concluded at different level, on the sector/industry level and/or at the enterprise level. Special attention will be given to new, innovative reconciliation measures and current challenges, such as ageing of population, active fatherhood, the promotion of higher share of women in leading and consequently better paid positions etc.

Inštitut za delo pri
Pravni fakulteti
v Ljubljani

Poljanski nasip 2,
1000 Ljubljana

tel.png01 / 42 03 164

Matična št.: 5051487
DDV št.: SI63914123