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6th European conference on personal and household services: work-life balance at the centre of the debates

On 7th November 2014, the 6th edition of the European conference on personal and household services gathered about one hundred participants in Brussels to discuss the contributions of Personal and Household Services (PHS) and work-life balance (WLB) policies to our societies.

The conference took place under the auspices of the Italian Presidency of the Council of the EU and was co-organised by the European Federation for Services to Individuals (EFSI) and the Consultative Commission on Industrial Change (CCMI) of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC). Its three panels were composed of  experts and representatives from companies, NGOs and Institutions who discussed the role played by PHS and WLB in women’s access to the labour market, as well as their effect on productivity for companies. Finally, the impact of recession and austerity policies on WLB was analysed.

A great variety of stakeholders, scholars and policy-makers were represented in the audience. They were able to have a real discussion with the speakers who rose awareness on important issues and opportunities. Several speakers notably insisted on the importance of public spending on WLB and PHS. For instance, Maurizio Mosca (Gender expert at EIGE) stated that “we should not talk about costs but about investment when it comes to childcare and work-life balance policies”. Following that idea, Aurélie Decker (Director of EFSI) and Jean-François Lebrun (European Commission official) both underlined the substantial earn-back effects of these investments. Working towards work-life balance is a great opportunity, not a luxury. This is, in substance, the message that this event has spread among the audience.


A verbatim report of the conference will be issued shortly.