26 October 2023: International Expert Meeting on “Innovative aspects for time policy over a families life course”

Foto der Präsenzteilnehmerinnen

On October 26, 2023, the AGF hosted an expert discussion on innovative time policy concepts. The discussion focused on the comparison of the German “Option Time Model” and the Spanish “Time Policy Action Framework” as well as the concrete political measures derived from them to support families. Experts from Spain, Germany, France and Hungary participated in the hybrid expert discussion.

Dr. Karin Jurczyk, Deputy Chairwoman of the German Society for Time Policy, presented the option time model developed by her and Prof. Mückenberger. The model is based on the assumption that time is an aspect of wealth which, alongside other material living conditions, should be distributed as fairly as possible between the gender and social groups. However, she stated that this was currently contradicted by the fact that the current labor law and welfare state framework of the life course was primarily focused on employment in adulthood while care work, which is as a socially necessary task, was largely ignored. Among other things, this leads to excessive demands and time constraints especially for women, who have to reconcile the contradictory demands of job and family life. The option time model provides for an individual time budget from which adults can use a total of 6 years for family or social care work, 2 years for personal professional development and 1 year for self-development. This time budget can be used to either reduce the working hours or to take a full leave.

Marc Martorell from the Barcelona Time Use Initiative (TUI) presented the “Barcelona Declaration on Time Policy” and explained some of the time policy activities that have been put into legislation in Spain. The TUI defines “time policy” as an instrument for changing the social organization of time. The focus is on aligning social time patterns more closely with people’s needs. The aim is to improve the health of the population, gender equality, operational and social productivity and ecological sustainability through a better time policy. Based on the Time Policy Declaration, the TUI’s Time Policy Action Framework has formulated recommendations for time policy measures that are aimed at both local actors and those responsible in the Spanish autonomous regions and the Spanish national government.

Both approaches that were presented focus on improving the reconciliation of modern demands of employment, care responsibilities, but also the need for time for self-care, recreation, education, etc. In the discussion, all countries represented at the expert meeting identified a high urgency to alleviate the time constraints of families (and women in particular) through measures for relieve. Growing time conflicts, demographic change and the shortage of skilled workers in the care professions are some of the drivers of the current care crisis, which will exacerbate the care gaps within families in the future. In addition to the implementation of concrete time policy measures, the overall need was seen to rebalance the assessment of paid work and care work and to revalue family and professional care work.