Laila is 29 and is training to be a teacher at Zurich University of Teacher Education. She is set to realise her dream next summer: working as a part-time teacher. Currently, Laila is a full-time student and a full-time mother. She hopes to have more time both for herself and her family when she starts part-time work.

An alarm clock? Laila doesn’t need one. Her young son Lino wakes her every day around 7:00 a.m. Then Laila’s day starts – as a full-time student and mother.

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When my baby wakes up and smiles at me, it gives me an energy boost.

While Laila spends her day at the teacher training college, Lino has fun with his grandparents almost every day. Laila is very grateful that her parents can look after Lino while she immerses herself in her studies. She wouldn't put him in daycare at the age of 13 months. He can't talk yet so he couldn't tell her what had happened during the day.

Laila does a lot of sport to switch off and have some of her own time. During her quieter moments, doubts do occasionally creep in: did she do the right thing falling pregnant at a young age and interrupting her studies for a year? Is she denying Lino the time he needs to spend with his mother, in order to study?

But these are just fleeting worries. Laila quickly realises that her studies and her son were the best decision she could have made. She is a proud mother who can complete a demanding course of study with the valuable support of her parents and her partner’s part-time job. Soon she will have her own dream job. Laila is more than happy with her lot.


Laila is 29 and lives with her partner and 13-month old son Lino in a three-room apartment in Zurich. When she was 25 and working as a commercial employee in a bank, Laila decided she wanted more from her career. She enrolled in a teacher training course at Zurich University of Teacher Education, where she will earn her Bachelor degree in the summer. Laila wants to work as a part-time teacher; that has always been her dream job. Her partner also works as a part-time teacher with a 70% position at a school in Kloten.

I’m really looking forward to spending more time as a mother and having more time for myself.

Laila will complete her course in the summer. Then she will start part-time work (no more than 40%-50%) as a primary school teacher. Her reduced working hours will allow her to spend more time with her family and to be a mother, to do more sport and enjoy some downtime.

Laila’s partner, who is also Lino’s father, also sees the advantages of working part time. He works part time as a teacher and, once Laila starts work, he will be able to spend one day a week with Lino.

We are putting off the 3rd pillar for now. We need the money for our living expenses.

Laila has already thought about private provisions, having worked as a commercial employee in a bank before becoming a student. However, she decided not to invest in a 3rd pillar to have more money for travel and her studies. Laila still has yet to invest in the 3rd pillar. She simply doesn't have the means. Once Laila starts teaching, she wants to accumulate private provisions so she can lead a self-determined life with her family in retirement. 

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Families in the part-time model

Working part time is popular here in Switzerland: more than a third of Swiss employees have consciously chosen not to work full time – mostly because they want to spend time raising their children, to take care of family obligations or to pursue education and training. In our series, young families offer a look at their lives working part time and tell us what the greatest challenges are.

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