Life balance: work, care, rest, and personal time

Local and Regional Time Agenda

life balance

Historical and current data point to deep disparities among people around the world, especially between men and women. In the 21st century, citizens, their democratic institutions, private companies and social agents must define and achieve a better balance between the three main uses of time in everyday life: care, work and personal time. This factor is key to promoting a better life balance and building a healthier, more egalitarian, more efficient and more sustainable life.

Three features are key to improving our life balance: multidisciplinary measures (implemented by public and private institutions), well-informed short- and medium-term measures and government coordination at international, regional and local levels. To date, the most resilient time policies have come from local and regional institutions. This chapter seeks to  provide visibility to these policies.

The chapter describes 35 already implemented time policies that have been classified in two groups: policies that aim to promote a better life balance for citizens, and policies promoting this balance within public institutions.

Introduction to the Agenda

Work-life balance, an essential requirement for “decent work”
“Our day can be broadly divided in three interconnected categories: time dedicated to paid work; time dedicated to care activities for oneself, others and the community, and time used for personal matters. They should be analysed together to achieve a life balance that is healthy and egalitarian.”
Maria Luz Vega Ruiz
Senior Adviser at ILO's Research Department
Context to "Life balance: Work, care and personal time"
“Life balance is closely related to the particular stage a person is at in their life cycle and is therefore a target that changes over time for everyone. [...] Differences between men and women in work-life conflict are related to deep-rooted gender inequalities.”
Sanna Nivakoski
Research Officer at Eurofound
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