Publications - Balancing Work and Family Life - Notes

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1. Unless otherwise indicated, the statistical definitions utilised for the international comparisons follow the approach adopted by the International Labour Organisation (ILO, 1982). Employment data relate to all those who worked for at least one hour for payment or profit, in the enumeration week.

2. Unless otherwise indicated, this analysis is derived from the Eurostat LFS data for 1997. Within the LFS, the distinction between full and part-time working is based on self-definition.

3. For ease of presentation, data on each of the 15 Member States is not reported. Instead a cross-section of five states (including Ireland) is reported, together with the EU average.

4. Activity rates represent the labour force (employed+unemployed) as population of working age. However, such rates do need to be interpreted with caution from a gender perspective because of their inclusion of those recorded as unemployed, which can underestimate the potential labour supply of women. As Rubery et al (1998) point out, " ... gender bias in the extent of hidden unemployment arises partly because in many societies social norms still define women's employment as secondary to their domestic responsibilities, and in all societies women still do most of the unpaid care work, so that non-employed women are less likely than men to define themselves as unemployed" (p.34).

5. In addition to sex, age, length of service, Department and grade, CEN-SIS data for such staff include details of job-sharing and career breaks. Although the regular reports produced by the CEN-SIS Unit in the Department of Finance principally analyse staff numbers by grade and Department/Office, detailed information is reported through the Annual Reports for the Equality Committee of General Council.

6. The total FTE of posts jobshared was 1,179.5.

7. In addition is must be noted that the reason for jobsharing was not cited for 36 per cent of women.

8. Unfortunately, nearly half of the male job-sharers did not report a reason.

9. Announced in January 1997, proposed new arrangements include working mornings only, or working three weeks out of four.

10. The total FTE of posts jobshared was 1,179.5.

11. Prior to that time, the Employment Agency Act (1971), that regulated the operation of employment agencies in Ireland did not concern itself with the employment conditions of agency workers. Under the 1993 Act, an agency worker is deemed to be an employee of the third party (i.e. the user employee) whether or not the third part is a party to the contract and whether or not the third party pays the wages of the worker with respect to the work undertaken or services received.

12. Until 1993, fixed-term contracts could be repeatedly renewed without giving rise to any obligations on the employer. Section 3 of the 1993 Act provides that the Rights Commissioners/Employment Appeals Tribunal can examine any second or subsequent contract to determine whether the nature of the contract was designed to avoid liability under the Act and in such circumstances a claim for unfair dismissal can be pursued.

13. In addition, the "marriage bar" which directly discriminated against women was abolished in 1973.

14. See Meenan, 1994 for a detailed consideration of the provisions of this Act.

15. Bilka-Kaufhaus v. Weber von Harzt (1986) determined that practices that excluded part-time workers, where the exclusion affects a far greater proportion of women than men, are unlawful unless the employer can provide objective justification for the practices, unrelated to discrimination on the grounds of sex. This decision was particularly helpful in providing more equal access to pension schemes. In addition, a more recent ruling by the ECJ (Stapleton and Hill v Revenue Commissioners 1998) held that job-sharers in the Irish civil service had suffered indirect discrimination because they had lost salary increments when they returned from job sharing to full time work. The Employment Equality Agency has suggested that the ruling in this case should lead to a more gender-neutral take-up of job-sharing schemes.


Chapter One: Background and Introduction
Chapter Two: What are Family Friendly Working Arrangements?
Chapter Three: Why Work Flexibly?
Chapter Four: How Much Working is Flexible
Chapter Five: Changing Policy Perspectives
Chapter Six: Legal Perspectives
Chapter Seven: Workplace Perspectives
Chapter Eight: Key Issues and Challenges
Annex One Checklist for developing family friendly/flexible working arrangements in the workplace

Last modified:07/11/2008

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