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Family Life and Working Time Flexibility in Germany: The Myth of Conciliation

Kerstin Jürgens

Changes in the social conditions for families’ ways of living together are main issues raised in current family research. Division of labour between family members no longer fits with the traditional model of breadwinner and householder, rather young parents practise a modernised version of that model, namely full-time work of the man and part-time work of the woman. Due to deficits in the public child-care system, it is difficult for both parents as well as for single parents to reconcile their full-time employment and their needs of private time for care. Recently, the mere duration of working time is no longer the only problem. Often a particular time allocation and circumstances of the working hour arrangement which are defined by the company aggravate parents’ time organisation difficulties. The augmented flexibility of working schedules is mainly due to economic necessities. Therefore the idea of a “work-life-balance” becomes a myth.