According to the European Labour Force Survey where a specific set of questions on reconciliation of work and family life was added in 2018, 17% of the EU population in employment or with previous employment reported a work interruption of at least six months for childcare during the course of their life, whilst 42% of this population reported no work interruption.
Estonia and Lithuania reported the highest shares of persons with a work interruption of at least six months for childcare (both 35%), ahead of Bulgaria (33%). In contrast, Malta recorded the lowest share (6%), followed by Spain and Portugal (both 7%).
Gender gap exists for the work interruption
In the EU, one in three women (in employment or with previous employment) reported a work interruption of at least six months for childcare reasons (33%) compared with a little over 1% of men.
The gender gap ranges from 14 percentage points (p.p.) in Spain, 18 p.p. in Belgium, 19 p.p. in Denmark and the Netherlands to 65 p.p. in Czechia, 66 p.p. in Estonia and 67 p.p. in Bulgaria.
When comparing shares of career breaks across the EU Member States, women in Malta recorded the lowest share of work interruptions for childcare reasons (13%), followed by Spain and Portugal (both 14%), while the highest shares were reported in Estonia (68%), Bulgaria (67%) and Czechia (66%). The share of men who reported a career break for childcare reasons is 4% or less in all EU Member States except Sweden (13%).
For more information:
- Eurostat Statistics Explained articles on reconciliation of work and family life
- Eurostat News Release on reconciliation of work and family life
- Eurostat quality report on the 2018 LFS ad hoc module on reconciliation between work and family life
- Eurostat database on LFS ad hoc module on reconciliation of work and family life
- The source data can be found in Eurostat dataset lfso_18stwked.
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