The Recommendation proposes that Member States take and/or encourage initiatives to create childcare services, to provide for flexibility in the organisation of special leave, to adapt the working environment, working structures and work organisation to the needs of workers with children and to encourage a more equal sharing of parental responsibilities. It sets out the cases in which childcare services are desirable and the arrangements for creating them.
Recommendation 92/241/EEC of 31 March 1992 on childcare [Official Journal L 123 of 8.5.1992].
It is recommended that Member States take and/or encourage progressively initiatives to help men and women to reconcile their responsibilities concerning their work, their studies and their families. They must take into account the respective responsibilities of the national, regional or local authorities, the social partners and private citizens and/or work in collaboration with these parties in the following four areas:
the provision of childcare services* while parents:
- are working,
- are following a course of education or training in order to obtain employment,
- are seeking a job or a course of education or training in order to obtain employment;
- special leave granted to working parents who have responsibility for the care and upbringing of children;
- the environment, structure and organisation of work, to make them responsive to the needs of workers with children;
- the sharing, between men and women, of occupational, family and upbringing responsibilities arising from the care of children.
In this context, efforts should be made in particular to ensure that:
- the services offered to parents are reasonably priced;
- the services combine reliable care from the point of view of health and safety with a general upbringing and a pedagogical approach;
- the services take into consideration the needs of parents and children as far as access is concerned;
- the services are available in all areas and regions of the Member States, both urban and rural;
- the services are accessible to children with special needs, e.g. from the linguistic point of view, and to children in single-parent families, and meet the needs of such children.
Steps should be taken also to:
- encourage flexibility and diversity of childcare services as part of a strategy to increase choice and satisfy the specific preferences, needs and circumstances of the children and their parents, while maintaining consistency between the various services;
- ensure that the training, both initial and ongoing, of workers in childcare services is commensurate with the importance and the social and educative value of their work;
- encourage childcare services to work closely with parents and local communities through regular contact and exchanges of information, thus meeting the needs of parents tailored to the particular local circumstances;
- encourage national, regional or local authorities, the social partners, other competent bodies and individuals, in accordance with their respective responsibilities, to make a financial contribution to the creation and/or operation of coherent childcare services which can be afforded by parents and offer them a choice.
The Member States should take and/or encourage initiatives with a realistic approach to women’s increased participation in the labour market, e.g. in the form of special leave giving employed parents, both men and women, the opportunity to discharge properly their occupational, family and child-raising responsibilities, with, inter alia, some flexibility as to how the leave may be taken.
Environment, structure and organisation of work
The Member States should take and/or encourage initiatives aimed at:
- providing support for action, particularly within the framework of collective agreements;
- ensuring that due recognition is given to persons engaged in childcare services as regards the way in which they work and the social value of their work;
- promoting action, especially in the public sector, which can serve as an example for developing initiatives in this area.
Sharing of responsibilities
The Member States should promote and encourage, with due respect for freedom of the individual, increased participation by men, in order to achieve a more equal sharing of parental responsibilities between men and women, and to enable women to have a more effective role in the labour market.
The aim of the recommendation is to promote equal opportunities for men and women, enabling them to reconcile their occupational, family and child-raising responsibilities arising.
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