Review of government initiatives for reconciling work and family life

Review of government initiatives for reconciling work and family life

Jennifer Baxter and Jennifer Renda

Research Report No. 34 — August 2015
Review of government initiatives for reconciling work and family life

This AIFS Research Report presents a review of government initiatives that help families balance their work and family responsibilities, highlighting innovative ideas and including a discussion of international trends and themes. Most of the information reviewed in this report pertains to OECD countries, especially New Zealand and countries in the European Union, as work and family policies have been extensively developed in these countries. Some East Asian countries have also been included, and for some countries, state (as opposed to federal) policies are discussed. The wide range of policies that have been used in different countries, combined with significant variation in approaches, means that those reviewed in this report are necessarily selective, and much of the discussion is quite broad. This review particularly focuses on government policies and approaches that address work and family issues for people with caring responsibilities for children or the elderly. The report outlines some of the broader aims, approaches and considerations of governments in the area of work and family, and then reviews policies related to leave and return-to-work policies; child care, child payments and early childhood education; working hours and other aspects of employment; and governance, support and promotion of work–family initiatives. This review reflects work–family policies that have recently been implemented (up to 2014) across developed countries, but not necessarily the state of play at the time of publication.

Authors and Acknowledgements

Dr Jennifer Baxter is a Senior Research Fellow and Jennifer Renda is a Senior Research Officer at the Australian Institute of Family Studies.


The authors wish to acknowledge the important contributions made by Professor Matthew Gray, as a co-author of an earlier version of this report. Likewise we are grateful for the input of our colleague Dr Michael Alexander, and the editorial team at AIFS, for the valuable contributions they have made. We also acknowledge the valuable insights and comments offered by Professor Marian Baird on a previous version of this work.

Edited and typeset by Lan Wang

Cover photo: © iStockphoto/Maartje van Caspel

Publication details

Research Report
No. 34
Published by the Australian Institute of Family Studies, August 2015.
62 pp.
ISSN: 
1477-1477
ISBN: 
978-1-76016-036-4
Suggested citation:

Baxter, J. A., & Renda, J. (2015). Review of government initiatives for reconciling work and family life (Research Report No. 34). Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.

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