Work-Life Balance

Managing a career, family responsibilities, and personal interests in a fast-paced society is an increasingly challenging task, particularly for female workers, but also for men. Workers are seeking to reconcile employment and caring responsibilities, including, among others, parenthood, care for the elderly, and illness or disability within the family unit.

Without family-friendly measures and flexible working arrangements, such reconciliation is often impossible for workers. Work arrangements should be sufficiently flexible to enable workers of both sexes to undertake lifelong learning activities and activities related to their further professional and personal development, not necessarily directly related to the worker’s job.​
Thus, achieving balance between work and life does not only focus on domestic tasks and caring for dependent relatives, but also extracurricular responsibilities or other important life priorities.

EU Directive Work-Life Balance for Parents and Carers
Source: European Commission  

The Directive of Work-Life Balance for Parents and Carers’ was adopted on 13th June 2019 to reinforce individual rights. The directive is to present a model on how to affiliate social and economic priorities as businesses will attract and withhold talents of both men and women.

The EU Directive on Work-Life Balance for Parents and Carers’ aims to achieve equality between men and women pertaining to the opportunities of the labour market and treatment at the place of work. This directive aims to improve families’ access to family leave and flexible work arrangement and must now be adopted by Member States by August 2022.

The Work-Life Balance Directive is to set a new or an advanced minimum standard to preserve and extend prevailing rights including:

  • 10 working day​s of Paternity leave;
  • At least 4 months of Parental leave per parent, out of which 2 months are non-transferable between parents;
  • 5 working days of Carers’ leave per year;
  • The right to request Flexible Working Arrangements referring to reduced working hours, flexible working hours and flexibility on the place of work.
The directive is valuable for all citizens as it will improve the working conditions of employees, the labour market will be attracting more workers with different responsibilities, while growth in the labour supply will enhance competitiveness.

EU Directive Work-Life Balance for Parents and Carer​s

Areas of Conce​rn


Indicators at an EU Level

Malta’s current situation

Pare​ntal leave​

Leave granted to either parent in order to care for a child. ​

 23% of men and 34% of women between the age of 20-49 are not eligible for Parental leave.


In 2016, 43% of women and 12% of men were ineligible for parental leave.

Informal Childcare and childcare services

Provision of public, private, individual or collective services to meet the needs of parents and children. 

More wom​en (56.4%) than men (50.5%) are involved in the caring for or educating their children or grandchildren at least several times a week of 18+.


67% of women and 54% of men are involved in the caring for or educating their children or grandchildren at least several times a week at the age of 18+.

Informal care for older persons and persons with disabilities and long – term care services


Unpaid care provided to older and dependent persons by a person with whom they have a social relationship, such as a spouse, parent, child, other relative, neighbour, friend or other non-kin.

 62% of women are informal carers for older persons and persons with disabilities for at least several days a week or daily.

Most informal carers of older persons and/or persons with disabilities in Malta are women (69%). The shares of women and men involved in informal care of older persons and/or people with disabilities several days a week or every day are 19% and 9%.


Transport and infrastructure

Access to affordable and quality public infrastructure, such as care and educational facilities, health services and transportation.


On average, women spend 39 minutes of commuting daily, while men spend 44 minutes daily.

Men and women in Malta approximately spend the same amount of time of commuting, amounting to 43-44 daily.

Flexible Working Arrangements

Organisation of working time, part-time work, overtime and night work in a flexible way.

57% of women and 54% of men are not able to change their working time, mostly in the public sector where employees have no control over their working time (65% of women and 62% of men).

Around 72% of both women and men are unable to change their working-time arrangements. Access to flexible working arrangements is lower in Malta than in the EU, where 57% of women and 54 % of men have no control over their working-time arrangements.


Lifelong learning

Formal and informal learning opportunities throughout people's lives in order to foster the continuous development and improvement of the knowledge and skills needed for employment and personal fulfilment.

Around 12% of women and 10% of men between the age of 25-64 participate in lifelong learning.

Women (12%) are more likely to participate in education than men (10%), irrespective of their employment status. However, family responsibilities and work schedules act as a barrier to education engagement for more women than men.