Combining Work and Care for Older Parents

The project “Combining Work and Care for Older Parents” (CoWorkCare) aims to generate new knowledge on how senior employees’ care obligations for their older parents affect their labour market participation, and to disseminate this knowledge to informed policymaking promoting extended and full-time working lives for employees who give care to older parents.

The project is a consortium between researchers from Norwegian Social Research (NOVA) and Work Research Institute (AFI), both at Oslo Metropolitan University; Ragnar Frisch Centre for Economic Research; Roskilde University; and Karlstad University. Research Professor Heidi Gautun is the project manager.

The project is funded (12 mill NOK) by The Research Council of Norway, Programme on Welfare, Culture and Society.


Trends in population ageing constitute a potentially important policy dilemma with respect to the organization of elderly care.

On the one hand, the probable rise in care requirements, in combination with the challenges related to the fiscal sustainability of the welfare state, suggest that we need to mobilize family resources in order to provide long-term care for older people.

On the other hand, the mobilization of family resources may make it difficult for caregivers to participate fully in the labour market, and this may again undermine the fiscal sustainability.

Secondary objectives

  1. to identify and quantify the effects of having a care-needing parent on the supply of labour and the demand for social insurance benefits. Further to examine how effects are mediated by (combinations of) individual characteristics, enterprises characteristics in different sectors and industries, and family situation
  2. to investigate various groups of employees`experiences and need for support
  3. to study conflicts of interest between employees and employers (micro level) and the welfare and labour market (macro level)
  4. to investigate in depth the conflicts of interest in samples of similar enterprises from Norway, Sweden and Denmark
  5. to, based on the findings, discuss policies promoting extended and full-time working lives for employees who give care to older parents

Project period

From: February 2021 until August 2024