Work-Family Balance: Origins, Practices and Statistical Portrait from Canada and France

Sondes Turki


This study examines the concepts contributing to the notion of work-life balance. It first presents “identity at work “, based on social and recognition theories. This concept leads to a more complex factor; namely the boundaries between work and private life. The transition between these two roles is based on flexibility and permeability and leads to the segmentation or integration of roles played by the individual in his or her daily life. Integration leads to spillovers that can be both positive and negative. Work-family conflict represents a negative spillover and it is a source of pressure, tension, and anxiety for the individual. In contrast, a spillover can be positive and results in enrichment. Finding a work-life balance is not only an individual responsibility as even governments and organizations have an important role to play. Work-life balance practices are classified into two categories:  working time planning policies and appeasement policies for work-family conflict. The study then uses statistical data from OECD to analyze and compare the effect of public work-family balance policies on maternal employment rates in Canada and France. Results indicate a link between the employment rates and the public appeasement policies in these two countries: appeasement policies help mothers to stay in the labour market