The Irish Congress of Trade Unions fully supports the aims and objectives of the Framework Agreement on Family Friendly Policies in the Workplace. Congress will work with IBEC and the Public Service Employers to support Unions, Employers and Employees to balance work and family life in their own workplaces.
The world of work is a changing place with a variety of new and different pressures, not least of which is the need to balance work and family life. The growing numbers of women in the workforce means that more women and men are now striving to meet their job requirements while also caring for their children, elderly parents and other members of the family.
Work is an essential factor of human life from the perspective of quality of life and social integration. Workplaces that respect and recognise the diverse needs of workers, including their family responsibilities, will gain from the diversity of talents and skills that they will attract and retain within their workforce.
While all of the data shows that it is women that carry out the vast majority of caring duties, men too want to have time with their families and family friendly workplace arrangements can and do address the needs of both men and women. The workplace cannot solve all of these matters, however Congress believes that workplace arrangements that help to balance work and family life can contribute enormously to easing the pressures on working parents and other employees.
Balancing work and family life is a worthwhile goal of value for society, for the economy, for employers and for employees. There is no single solution and the advantage of the Framework Agreement's approach is that it recognises the dynamic and difference that exists in each workplace due to the make up of the workforce; the nature of the business and the requirements of the customer.
The Framework Agreement encourages management, unions and employees to come together to find out what the needs of the employees and the company are and then to identify how they can, in their particular enterprise, meet these needs to the mutual benefit of both company and employee. What is appropriate for one organisation may not work in another. The aim here is not to prescribe or even recommend one form of family friendly workplace arrangement over another.
Rather we are recommending that employers, unions and employees come together to see which family friendly work arrangements work for them.