The balancing act between employment and family care
According to a study conducted in 2014 by the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health (BAG bulletin 36/2014), caring for relatives provides work valued at more than CHF 9.5 billion. Given that 80 % of people in need of care are looked after by relatives, the reconciliation of paid work and family care, also known as “work & care”, is no fringe phenomenon.
The Careum School of Health has been involved in “work & care” since 2007. Previous findings from company surveys send out a clear message: more than a quarter of the employees surveyed have experience of caring for relatives. Other research findings clearly show that there is a need for action in the area of “work & care”, as the number of people requiring care continues to increase.
Reasons for this include demographic changes and the increase in chronic illnesses. However, social changes are also of increasing significance for “work & care”: more single-person households, increasing divorce rates, relatives living far away from each other, more women at work and an increasing retirement age.
Federal Council action plan
The federal government recognises the social and economic significance of “work & care”. At the end of 2014, as part of its “Health2020” agenda, the Federal Council presented an action plan to better support people looking after and caring for relatives.
The Federal Office of Public Health's support programme "Relief offers for caring relatives" researched the situation and needs of caring relatives. This is intended to serve the further development of relief offers; with the aim that care-giving relatives can retain their employment. In Switzerland, a representative population survey of children, adolescents and adults with or without employment was conducted. Read the final report here.
Federal Council Report
Support of caring relatives