Benefits of joint responsibility for work-life balance for:

  • Two parents can invest more time in raising and educating their children
  • More time availability decreases family tensions and supports a positive emotional and cognitive development
  • A stronger bonding with the father and a more secure emotional attachment are encouraged
  • Children live and learn equality between men and women
  • By encouraging that mothers can keep their jobs, child poverty is reduced
  • One parent families can devote more time to their children thanks to the joint responsibility of companies and society
Men and women
  • Equal job and profesional opportunities for all, men and women, are guaranteed
  • The workload of mothers is reduced as children’s upbringing responsibilities are divided equitably
  • The labelling of women as “less available” compared to men is avoided
  • By facilitating that women keep their jobs, female poverty is reduced
  • Men are given the possibility of enjoying more time with their children
  • A better development of caring skills is promoted
  • A healthier relation with paid work is promoted
  • The acquisition of new organisational and relational competences is made posible
  • Establishing emotional bonds with your own children is rewarding


  • The welfare of employees increases if they are able to achieve a better balance between work and personal life
  • The loyalty of staff improves
  • Greater motivation, commitment and involvement with the company, which in turn increases productivity
  • Investing in female staff becomes more profitable
  • Higher retention index and less rotation
  • The internal and external image of the company improves


How to design measures for joint responsibility for work-life balance

1. Practices in companies should guarantee that all people can use the established legal rights, through information channels, counseling and the defense of their correct application.

2. One should avoid signaling women as main caregivers, because it penalizes them professionally. If the answers to the following questions are affirmative, men are not being considered as having a joint responsibility:

a) Are measures described as support for mothers? (e.g. reference is made to “time flexibility for mothers? (e.g. it says “time flexibility for mothers with small children”)

b) Are measures, in practice, used nearly exclusively by women? (e.g. the statutory right to reduce work hours up to age 12 of child)

c) Do additional benefits provided by your company asume that women need more time to care for dependents than men?  (e.g. two additional weeks of paternity leave and four additional weeks of maternity leave)

In case of positive answers, it seems convenient to revise the measures for work-life balance offered by the company.

Legal measures and statistics of use


1. Statutory right to reduce work hours: Right established in

Estatuto de los Trabajadores para personas con hijo/a menor de 12 años de edad: Artículo 37. Descanso semanal, fiestas y permisos, apartado 5.


People with minors below age 8 who reduced work hours after birth by time and gender, 2010

Source: Own elaboration with Labour Force Survey, special module, 2010.


2. Distance work and teleworking:

– Estatuto de los Trabajadores: Artículo 13. Trabajo a distancia.

– Acuerdo Marco Europeo sobre teletrabajo, julio 2002 y  Resolución de 31 de enero de 2003, de la Dirección General de Trabajo, por la que se dispone la inscripción en el registro y publicación del Acuerdo Interconfederal para la Negociación Colectiva 2003 (ANC 2003).


Employed people by frequency working from home and gender, 2015

Source: Own elaboration with European Labour Fore Surveys, [lfsa_ehomp], 2017.

3. Discontinuation of contract and maternity, paternity and breastfeeding leaves of absence:

– Estatuto de los Trabajadores: Artículo 37. Descanso semanal, fiestas y permisos; Artículo 38. Vacaciones anuales; Artículo 45. Causas y efectos de la suspensión; Artículo 48. Suspensión con reserva de puesto de trabajo; Artículo 48 bis. Suspensión del contrato de trabajo por paternidad.

4. Cash benefits for maternity and paternity:

– Ley General de la Seguridad Social: CAPÍTULO VI, Maternidad; CAPÍTULO VII, Paternidad.


Benefits for maternity and paternity leave, transferable and non-transferable, 2016

Source: Own elaboration with data from Ministerio de Empleo y Seguridad Social, 2017

5. Unpaid leave for child and family care:

– Estatuto de los Trabajadores: Artículo 46. Excedencia.

People with minors below age 8 who took unpaid parental leave, by length of leave and gender, 2010

Source: Own elaboration with Labour Force Survey, special module, 2010.

6. Cash benefit for the care of minors affected by serious illness:

– Ley General de la Seguridad Social:  CAPÍTULO X, Cuidado de menores afectados por cáncer u otra enfermedad grave.

7. . Time flexibility, continuous schedule and weekly work hours:

– Estatuto de los Trabajadores: Artículo 34. Jornada:  Apartado 1; Apartado 8; Artículo 41.


Proportion of people working at a given time (Mondays-Fridays)

Source: Own elaboration with Time Use Survey, 2009-10.

Daily time shared with children below age 13 (Mondays-Fridays)

Source: Own elaboration with Time Use Survey, 2009-10.


8. Measures for equal opportunities:

– Real Decreto 1615/2009, de 26 de octubre, por el que se regula la concesión y utilización del distintivo “Igualdad en la Empresa”

– Acta de prórroga para el año 2008, del Acuerdo Interconfederal para la negociación colectiva 2007 (ANC 2007): ANEXO II Igualdad de trato y oportunidades

– Ley Orgánica 3/2007, de 22 de marzo, para la igualdad efectiva de mujeres y hombres.

All these legal measures have to be adequately interpreted and implemented. To protect the rights of maternity and paternity it is necessary to:

  1. Implement mechanisms that guarantee the compliance of formal rights in practice, such as substituting workers who are on leave and offering channels to complain or appeal in case of non observance of legal rights.
  2. Prevent penalizations due to the take up of measures to support work-life balance.
  3. Consider situations of special vulnerability, such as dependents with illness or special needs, offering specific right for these life cycle circumstances.

Do you want to know more about civil society groups who work for a joint responsibility in work-life balance?

Here is a list with platforms, associations, foundations, blogs and research groups who claim for a joint responsibility in work-life balance:



International Parental Leave Network


Club de Malas Madres



Papas Blogueros


We thank the following companies for their participation through information on their work-life measures and their take up by fathers: