Step 4. Following up through the use of indicators within M&E systems

In selecting and formulating proposed activities to promote work-life balance through the use of the ESF+ and ERDF, representatives of managing authorities in Member States advised to work through Step 3. While doing so, they should consider the desired outcomes, as well as related indicators of progress and change, in order to follow up on the achievement of the outcomes. The example below illustrates how, using a process of stages or steps, stakeholders can consider the core objective, actions to progress towards that objective, and indicators[1] to inform actions, monitoring and evaluation.

Gender equality objective: provide better work-life balance for parents and people with care responsibilities

Please note that these indicators[2] are only examples

Output indicators

  • Increased provision of publicly funded, flexible and high-quality childcare services
  • Increased provision of flexible, affordable and high-quality care for older people, including digital technologies, shared care and intergenerational care services
  • Increased provision of publicly funded, flexible and high-quality services for people living with disabilities, including children
  • Increased allocation of spending on developing the care workforce across social care, care for older people and childcare
  • Increased access to care facilities and services to support participation in the labour market
  • Increased practices of employers/businesses to support flexible work and alternative working arrangements
  • Increased autonomy of employees to set up their own working-time arrangements
  • Increased participation of men in care-related occupations and improved terms and conditions for women and men workers throughout the care sector

Results indicators

  • Increased proportion of men’s time in care-related activities
  • Increased employment for women and men in formal care work
  • Improved terms and conditions for women and men workers in the care sector
  • Increased women’s, including migrant women’s, access to, and hours in paid work
  • Increased use of alternative working arrangements

Impact indicators

  • More equitable division of care
  • More equitable time use between women and men
  • Increased women’s and men’s, including migrant women’s and men’s, economic, physical and psychological well-being and health 
  • Increased tax revenue from the expanded workforce and (gender desegregated) care sector
  • Increased economic outputs through expanded employment

 Czechia: creating better work-life balance for women and men

Czechia is working towards better work-life balance and an improved position for women in the labour market by various means using ESF and ERDF finances, coupled with national funds. Women in the country currently experience multiple disadvantages in the labour market:

  • women’s access to employment is more restricted than men’s;
  • women’s career progression is not in line with that of men;
  • women have greater demands on their time in terms of reconciling paid work and care responsibilities, than men;
  • there is a significant gender pay gap which disadvantages women.

An absence of public childcare services, and a lack of affordable alternatives, deters women from participating in the job market. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) data show that, among all EU Member States, Czechia has the lowest employment rate for mothers with children under the age of 12 years, and low levels of employment among women with children under the age of 3[3]. A range of actions seek to address these challenges by combining public funds and ESIF resources. For example, a network of affordable, locally available childcare services is being developed as part of Prague’s OP. These aim to give women more opportunities to combine work and private life by bridging current gaps in services. The new set-up includes education programmes for preschool teachers and for new or existing preschool entrepreneurs. Paternity leave has been introduced as a legislative measure to enable men to participate in childcare[4]; it is open to fathers or any person who has adopted or fostered a child of up to 7 years of age.

By combining resources from two funds, the ESF programme in Czechia also works on measures to introduce flexible working arrangements as a means of facilitating the reconciliation of paid work and care responsibilities. In tandem, ERDF funding is oriented towards investments in childcare infrastructure, in order to build and operate a network of affordable, locally available childcare services nationwide.

Other actions to improve work-life balance include education, awareness raising and consultations with employers; direct financial support to introduce flexible working arrangements through wage contributions; and avoiding the use of gender stereotypes while fostering understanding of gender discrimination through training and awareness raising. Initiatives to encourage men’s engagement in childcare and the care of other dependants have been equally important, supported by awareness raising, topic promotion, training men in care work, and supporting the reconciliation of work and private life for male employees, including counselling for men who are on parental leave.