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COVID-19 puts unprecedented strain on family life

News   •   May 15, 2020 07:00 BST

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is having a profound impact on families and working life across Europe. In addition to the health implications, many people are now required to balance caring for and educating children, while at the same time continuing to manage work responsibilities. In the EU, over a quarter of people working from home live in households with children under 12, and more than one in five (22%) living with children under 12 report difficulties concentrating on their job.

These First Findings from Eurofound’s Living, working and COVID-19 online survey coincide with the International Day of Families. They show that over a third (37%) of people currently working in the EU began to telework as a result of the pandemic, with more than a quarter (26%) living in households with children under 12, and another 10% living with children aged 12–17. Eurofound research has found that over one in five persons (22%) living with children under 12 reported difficulties in concentrating on their job all or most of the time, compared to just 5% of households with no children, and 7% with children aged 12–17. Work–family conflict has always been more prevalent among people with young children, than among those with older children, or no children at all. However, at present, the proportion of people with young children finding it difficult to divide their time between work and family, as well as to focus on work, is significantly larger when compared to other groups.

Speaking about the findings, Mary McCaughey, Eurofound Head of Unit for Information and Communication, said “The health and economic implications of COVID-19 are understandably the issues that take prominence in public debate and policy responses. However, the toll this pandemic has taken on family life cannot be ignored. Parents are facing unprecedented challenges, particularly now that most cannot avail of childcare services, and many are required to supervise schooling at home.”

Read more:

Living, working and COVID-19: First findings – April 2020

Living, working and COVID-19: Data

Forthcoming publication: Living, working and COVID-19 - Overview report

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