The Right to Reconcile Family Life and Work: A Case Study of How Individual Freedom Relates to Social Expectations ABSTRACT: In Italy, the right to reconcile one’s professional life with one’s family life was declared in 2000, in a very sweeping and detailed law (N° 53) that comes under the heading of the social policies sustained for some time by the European institutions, whose aim is to enact a series of measures, including paternity leave, to achieve a better balanced participation of women and men, both in the working world and in the activities involved in caring for the family. As it is cited in European document mission statements in particular, the right of reconciliation is dual in nature: it is both a social right and an individual right of freedom, as its application ought to enable women and men to live out their personal relationships in both their public and their private lives. Moreover, insofar as it concerns the relations between social caregivers and social beneficiaries (between parents and their children, for example, but also the older or disabled members of the family), it can also be included under the heading of rights of relationship. The article underscores the almost magical nature of the right of reconciliation, which aims to cater for a very wide range of very different expectations, highlighting the risk that it may be used to transform social problems into individualised legal problems. Specific attention is then paid to its subjective dimension, as a right in everyday life, when elements of conflict become relevant, as its enactment calls for a rather radical redefinition of gender roles in housework and in caring.