The challenges of work-family balance: an overview of parents of children aged 0 to 5 years

Montréal, November 2, 2016 – A large number of salaried parents have difficulty in striking a good balance between their family and professional responsibilities. About one parent out of five (20%) experience what would be considered a high level of work-family conflict, while one out of three (35%) experience a moderate level of work-family conflict. These are some of the findings of a study prepared with data from the 2015 Québec Survey on the Experience of Parents of Children Aged 0 to 5 (QSEPC).For example, half the salaried parents with young children (50%) often or always had the impression they ran around all day to do whatever they had to get done, and 37% were often or always physically exhausted by suppertime.

Factors associated with greater difficulty in striking good work-family balance

Many parental or family characteristics are associated with a higher level of work-family conflict. Mothers were proportionally more likely than fathers to feel such a level of conflict (25% vs. 15%). Parents who were university graduates, those who felt they did not earn enough and those dissatisfied with the division of child-rearing tasks were more likely to experience a higher level of work-family conflict.

The findings show that parents who worked more than 40 hours a week, who did not have a flexible work schedule or who did not have paid family leave were more likely to experience a higher level of work-family conflict.

Repercussions on some aspects of parents’ lives

The study revealed that fathers and mothers with a higher level of work-family conflict were more likely to consider themselves to be less healthy, to feel less efficient as parents or to express a lower degree of parental satisfaction. These parents were also more inclined to yell at, raise their voice to or get angry with their children aged 0 to 5 years at least once a day. As the level of work-family conflict increased, the amount of time parents spent playing with their children aged 0 to 5 years decreased.

About the QSEPC

The QSEPC questionnaire was administered from January 16 to May 10, 2015, to more than 14,900 Québec parents with at least one child aged 0 to 5 years, including nearly 9,900 salaried parents.This survey was funded by the organization Avenir d’enfants within the scope of the Parental Perspective initiative. The study unveiled today follows up on the publication of the report Mieux connaître la parentalité au Québec, released in May 2016.


The Institut de la statistique du Québec produces, analyzes and disseminates official, objective and quality statistical information on various aspects of Québec society. It is responsible for carrying out all statistical surveys of general interest. The relevance of its work makes it a strategic ally for decision makers and all those wishing to learn more about Québec.


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