Wednesday, 27 October 2021 09:09 GMT

Part-time work system will enhance women empowerment: DIFI


(MENAFN- The Peninsula) Doha: Doha International Family Institute (DIFI), which advocates for more women participation in the workforce in a favourable environment, has lauded legislative developments regarding terms and conditions of the part-time system in government entities.

Director of Family Policy at DFI, Khalid Al Naama, has said that the decision will help in maintaining family-work balance, and enhance women empowerment. Part-time work for women was one of the prominent recommendations advocated by DIFI, a member of Qatar Foundation, and submitted to related authorities. 

“Since June this year, after hearing the statements of the Prime Minister, H E Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz Al Thani, about the Council's study of implementing the flexible work system, we have been looking forward to seeing these statements translated into measures,” Al Naama told The Peninsula. 

“We feel proud today that these ideas, for which we have been advocating and producing epistemological evidence, have materialised and become a reality. We hope that this achievement will enhance the empowerment of women to achieve a family-work balance, enhance the productivity of institutions and above all present Qatar as a model that is always at the fore in legislative, policy and programmatic development related to family issues in the Arab world,” he added.  

Al Naama emphasised that enhancing and developing a capable and motivating workforce is an essential step to make progress in establishing the human development pillar in the Qatar National Vision 2030.

“Providing incentives for Qataris to perform their professional and administrative roles in the business, health and education sectors, and increasing opportunities for professional support for Qatari women, are factors that give a reason to strive to achieve a work-family balance in Qatar,” he said.

Al Naama said that statistics indicate that females are interested in pursuing university studies, while males prefer to enter the labour market after completing their secondary education as well as a gap between the economic participation of females and males.

“This indicates that the educational attainment rate for females does not correspond to their participation in the labour market.”

“Women are still mainly responsible for childcare and domestic work in the family. For working women, these responsibilities are an additional load next to their burdens in their chosen profession. Therefore, improving conditions in terms of flexibility of time and working hours can be a positive step towards encouraging more women to join to the workforce,” he added. 

According to Al Naama, giving employees the right to 'flexible working hours' and part-time work, and limiting working periods in the public sector to a maximum of 30 hours per week in all sectors, was one of the recommendations that came out of a study conducted by DIFI on 'Work-Family Balance: Challenges, Experiences and Implications for the Family in Qatar", which aims to help families and individuals align care responsibilities with work requirements in Qatar. 

The study showed that the pressures resulting from the long time spent at work lead to exhaustion and stress for Qataris, which prevents them from meeting the family requirements; the impact of these pressures affect working mothers in particular. 

“Also, the nature of work that requires employees to be present in person in the workplace poses a great threat to the work-family balance and impacts more on females compared to males. Some 75% of those surveyed stressed the importance of having a part-time or flexible work system,” said Al Naama. 

He also said that part-time work nature should be introduced in the private sector as well.   Also DIFI has presented several other recommendations to relevant authorities to be implemented.

Those recommendations include, applying flexible work hours for parents and providing the option to work from home; granting a maternity leave of no less than three months that is fully paid, and another three months the mother may opt to take as leave that is half-paid; granting a one-week paternity leave to the husband when his wife gives birth; providing nurseries in workplaces, or near them and providing special rooms in the workplace for working mothers to pump and store milk. 

Speaking about the practical possibility of flexible work environment, Al Naama said,“In Qatar, in light of the pandemic and the lockdown, we saw that such measures enhanced family cohesion, and did not negatively affect work. We are preparing a cost-benefit study to assess the impact of the family-friendly policies adopted by Qatar Foundation. In general, the evidence from the survey of manager opinions indicates that the work is more sustainable and productive upon providing more comfort and flexible arrangements for both men and women.”

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