A woman working on her computer at home. LEHTIKUVA


A recent study conducted by Finnish associations, Simpukka ry and Vapaaehtoisesti Lapsettomat ry, has found that childless employees face discrimination in vacation planning, work shift scheduling, and career advancement. According to the study, vacation plans and work shift schedules tend to prioritize the preferences of employees with children. Childless employees are expected to be more flexible and are subjected to career advancement discrimination.

The study surveyed approximately 570 voluntarily and involuntarily childless people to investigate experiences of discrimination in the workplace. It revealed that 60% of involuntarily childless respondents have experienced vacation and work shift discrimination. One-third of respondents reported experiencing discrimination related to infertility or fertility treatments within the past five years.

Furthermore, 61% of involuntarily childless and 39% of voluntarily childless respondents experienced discrimination in vacation or work shift scheduling. Among shift workers, 80% reported encountering work shift discrimination. Additionally, 33% of involuntarily childless and 25% of voluntarily childless respondents experienced discrimination when balancing work and personal life.

The study suggests that work-life balance should be emphasized, rather than work-family balance, since childless people also have time-consuming responsibilities outside of work. All employees have the right to work-life balance and work-related flexibility, regardless of their family status.

“So-called stereotypical attitudes about employees with or without children are common in the workplace. Everyone has the right to work-related flexibility, balanced workload, and recovery time, regardless of their family status,” said Soile Rajamäki, the chairperson of Vapaaehtoisesti Lapsettomat ry.

The study also found that employees with childless status face presumptions from their superiors and colleagues, such as the assumption that an employee in their fertile age would take parental leave soon. These presumptions should not influence decisions regarding responsibilities or education.

In conclusion, childless employees must receive equal treatment in vacation planning, work shift scheduling, career advancement, and work-life balance. Discrimination against childless employees must be recognized and eliminated in Finnish workplaces.