The interference of paid work with household demands in different social policy contexts: perceived work–household conflict in Sweden, the UK, the Netherlands, Hungary, and the Czech Republic




The article explores whether people experiences a lower level of work–household conflict in a context that is characterized by extensive family policies (Sweden and to some extent Hungary and Czech Republic) aimed at facilitating participation in the labour market. This is done by studying perceived work–household conflict among women and men living in Sweden, the UK, the Netherlands, Hungary, and the Czech Republic. The analyses are based on the answers to a questionnaire distributed to nearly 6,000 randomly selected individuals within the framework of the European Union financed ‘Household, Work, and Flexibility’ (HWF) study. The results show that women in Sweden experience conflicts between work and household demands to a higher degree than any other category in all five countries. The differences between Swedish women and women living in the Netherlands and the UK are explained by variables indicating qualifications and workload in the main job, but the lower degree of work–household conflict among Czech and Hungarian women is still significant when controlling for household composition and working conditions. Data indicate that a possible explanation for this can be found in the interplay between men's and women's attitudes toward gender roles and the actual situation in terms of division of labour.