Balanced use of parental leave would contribute to career development for women

The project “WorkLife 4U” led by the company Spona Code and partners, was publicly presented for the first time. The goals of the project co-financed by the European Union are to reduce the impact of stereotypes about male and female roles at work, in the family and in society, and to facilitate the reconciliation of business and family obligations for each individual.

The purpose of the project is to change social norms regarding traditional roles of women and men in the family and at work and reduce the problems that young people face in work and family life. The project raises awareness of the unequal distribution of responsibilities within the family and the unconscious bias of employers due to stereotypical expectations. Thus, in employment and career advancement, preference is given to young men even though women are equally educated and capable.

The present differences are also confirmed by official data on education and unemployment. Out of 3.8% of the unemployed people in Varaždin County last year, women made up 56% of the entire number. The insufficient use of potential is best illustrated by educational structure data that show that the highest number of unemployed women is highly educated (11.7%) compared to men with higher education, who are almost twice less unemployed (5.6%). The same trend of the difference between the unemployed by gender is present in all Croatian counties, with the smallest difference in the City of Zagreb (48.5% of men compared to 51.5% of women, or 3%). while the largest difference is in Posavina and Slavonia, especially in Vukovar-Srijem County (38.3% of men compared to 61.7% of women; 23.4%).

The participants were greeted by Natalija Martinčević, Member of Parliament and a representative of the Croatian Association of Counties, an organizational partner in the project, who pointed out:

“Formally we are completely equal to men, but in reality, our society is still full of prejudices. In our country, fathers still do not use parental leave enough, only 3 per cent of them. We also have one of the lowest perceptions of approval of men taking parental leave, and I believe that a balanced use of parental leave between both parents would significantly contribute to better career development for women. As a unit of regional self-government, we are interested in the introduction of the MAMFORCE standard, which guarantees a stimulating work environment and develops criteria for advancement. In our country, 65 per cent of managerial positions are held by women and we can certainly serve as an example to other public administration bodies, cities and municipalities. ”

Majda Burić, State Secretary at the Ministry of Labor commented on the previous results and plans of the Government:

“The harmonization of private and business life is among our top priorities, which is confirmed by the fact that in the past increased parental benefits for parental leave by more than 100%, from HRK 2,400.00 to HRK 5,600.00, and we intend to raise that amount to the amount of salary by the end of this term. It is also important for the balance of private and business life to mention APN loans, construction and renovation of more than 500 kindergartens and the introduction of extended work in 96 of them, the program “Wish” for women’s employment, as well as this project working on equal opportunities for women and men at work and in the family. ”

Opportunities for European-funded involvement in MAMFORCE SOCIETY were presented through an audit – a strategic tool for creating an organizational culture that enables the harmonization of professional and family obligations and equal opportunities for the career development of men and women.

“Reduced sick leave rates, higher employee satisfaction, increased productivity and a higher number of women in management positions – are the results of the changes we have implemented in 33 organizations through audits. These are clearly positive developments, absolutely measurable, which confirm that we are thinking in the right direction. Thanks to the project WorkLife 4u, 20 more companies will have the opportunity to improve their policies and practices, and consequently, crucially, productivity, all with EU co-financing. “- said Diana Kobas Dešković, CEO of Spona Code, which guides companies through changing business environments.

The professor of management and human resources management from the Faculty of Economics in Zagreb, PhD, also joined in emphasizing the importance of the balance of private and business life. Nina Pološki Vokić, who pointed out that social and organisational support is important for balance, but also for the individual with his responsible attitude towards work and private time.

Petra Hartman from the Equilib Institute, which has been successfully working in this field since 2007, revealed the state of harmony between private and business life in neighbouring Slovenia, thanks to which Slovenia has 280 certified organizations in the field of work-life balance.

As part of the public presentation of the project, parts of the play “WorkLife 4U” by the Association of Words / Rights / Performances were shown in a customized video format due to the current pandemic.

After Varaždin, public events will be held in Osijek, Pula and Split. In addition to other project activities, MAMFORCE audits and training for employers and employees will be conducted in 20 organizations.

With the help of the MAMFORCE method, which directs the change of organizational culture towards an inclusive and gender-balanced work environment, companies will identify existing biases, introduce organizational changes and practices that enable a balance between the private and business life of employees. Positive developments and best practices will receive recognition in the form of the MAMFORCE standard as a mark of quality for organizations friends of family and women.

At the end of the conference, a public invitation was sent to companies to join the MAMFORCE SOCIETY, about which you can find more information at the link, where you can find all the information about the project.

The implementation of the project is co-financed by the European Commission through the REC program (Rights, Equality and Citizenship). The project coordinator is the Ministry of Labor, Pension System, Family and Social Policy, and the partners are the Croatian Association of Counties and Spona Code.

The value of the project is EUR 324,518.06, of which the European Commission participates with EUR 241,675.13. The project is implemented in the period from June 1, 2020, to May 31, 2022

Should you wish to learn more about the MAMFORCE certification process, get in touch. We are looking forward to helping you develop your own employer brand.

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