Work-life Balance in the UK and Japan

  Pressures for economic growth coupled with sociological changes in the workforce have led many industrialized countries to adopt measures to facilitate balance between work and domestic responsibilities. Such “work-life balance” policies include: reduced working hours (e.g. part-time work), changing the timing and/or and place of work (e.g. flexitime, home working), or provisions of paid or unpaid leave (e.g. paternity, parental leave). While some countries have developed more gender-sensitive models, others, including the UK and Japan, tend to reflect and perpetuate a traditional division of labour. Despite women's labour market participation and changing expectations of fatherhood, responsibility for the care of dependants remains gendered. A cross-country research effort helped to identify structural and cultural barriers to more effective and gender-sensitive policy formulation and implementation. The project investigated work-life balance policy issues in the UK and Japan from a comparative perspective. The broad aims were to compare public and private work-life balance policies and practices. To investigate impediments at the national and organisational levels. To synthesise the findings for policy implications. As part of this synthesis Sarah Wise from the Employment Research Institute, traveled to Japan to work on this comparative piece and to share UK work-life balance policy and practice with Japanese academics and students.  

  • Start Date:

    1 September 2004

  • End Date:

    1 December 2005

  • Activity Type:

    Externally Funded Research