Category Archives: Family & Work

Inflexible jobs also make non-parents miserable

Source: Jared Wadley, Futurity, April 30, 2018

Work-life balance is not an issue exclusive to women, particularly mothers, new research shows. Men and people without children can suffer when they feel that their workplace culture is not family-friendly, as well.

When employees think their careers will suffer if they take time away from work for family or personal reasons, they have lower work satisfaction and experience more work-life spillover. In addition, they are more likely to intend to leave their jobs, say researchers…..

….People typically think only women and moms experience work-family issues, and need flexible work arrangements, like telecommuting, part-time work, or job sharing. Society believes it’s women who bear the brunt of unfriendly work cultures, when it actually impacts all genders, says Lindsey Trimble O’Connor, lead author and assistant professor of sociology at California State University Channel Islands…..

Related:
Not Just a Mothers’ Problem: The Consequences of Perceived Workplace Flexibility Bias for All Workers
Lindsey Trimble O’Connor, Erin A. Cech, Sociological Perspectives, Online First, April 13, 2018
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Flexibility bias and the “ideal worker” norm pose serious disadvantages for working mothers. But, are mothers the only ones harmed by these norms? We argue that these norms can be harmful for all workers, even “ideal” ones—men without caregiving responsibilities who have never used flexible work arrangements. We investigate how working in an environment where workers perceive flexibility bias affects their job attitudes and work-life spillover. Using representative survey data of U.S. workers, we find that perceived flexibility bias reduces job satisfaction and engagement and increases turnover intentions and work-life spillover for all types of workers, even ideal workers. The effects of perceived bias on satisfaction, turnover, and spillover operate beyond experiences with family responsibilities discrimination and having colleagues who are unsupportive of work-life balance. We show that workplace cultures that harbor flexibility bias—and, by extension, that valorize ideal work—may affect the entire workforce in costly ways.

The US is stingier with child care and maternity leave than the rest of the world

Source: Joya Misra, The Conversation, April 19, 2018

In most American families led by couples, both parents are in the workforce. At the same time, nearly 1 in 4 U.S. children are being raised by single moms.

Yet child care is generally unaffordable and paid leave is not available to most U.S. parents.

Around the world, however, most employed women automatically get paid maternity leave. And in most wealthy countries, they also have access to affordable child care.

These holes in the national safety net are a problem for many reasons, including one I’ve been researching with my colleagues for years: Paid parental leave and child care help women stay in the workforce and earn higher wages over time. This lack of parental leave and child care may explain why the U.S. is no longer a leader in women’s workforce participation…..

Examining the Impact of Federal Employee Wellness Programs and Employee Resilience in the Federal Workplace

Source: Stephanie A. Pink-Harper and Beth Rauhaus, Journal of Health and Human Services Administration, Vol. 40, No. 3, Winter 2017
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
The term “family-friendly” has been broadened to “employee-friendly” to encompass employees who may not benefit from traditional familial benefits. This change in terminology, focusing on employees in a general sense, has not necessarily resulted in policies that are beneficial to a dynamic, diverse public service. As demographics and lifestyles of federal government employees change, human resource policies will need to adapt to meet the needs of this population. This research explores the impact that employee-friendly policies (i.e. family, health, and socio-economic) have on the employee, and the workplace environment. This project attempts to bridge the gap between the theory- driven creation of employee-friendly policies and the practice of beneficial policies that employees will take advantage of. Results suggest that as demographics of the public service change, the need for human resource practices to be modified becomes even more apparent to achieve an appropriate work-life balance. In order to address these challenges, this work offers policy recommendations for increased levels of job satisfaction, which focus on benefits useful in improving federal public servants’ wellness.

Federal Work-Life Survey Results

Source: U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM), March 2018

From the memo:
The key findings of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) Federal Work-Life Survey administered January 25 to March 10, 2017. This memorandum highlights the Federal workforce’s use and impact of work-life programs and provides guidance for agencies. OPM’s analysis indicates a significant relationship between participation in work-life programs and optimal organizational performance, retention, and job satisfaction. These outcomes emphasize the value of work-life programs as strategic tools that support organizational effectiveness. At the same time, there are opportunities for improvement through expanding support and reducing barriers to utilizing these programs…..

Unpaid Caregiving Roles and Sleep Among Women Working in Nursing Homes: A Longitudinal Study

Source: Nicole DePasquale, Martin J Sliwinski, Steven H Zarit, Orfeu M Buxton, David M Almeida, The Gerontologist, Advance Access, Published: January 19, 2018
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Background and Objectives:
Although sleep is a critical health outcome providing insight into overall health, well-being, and role functioning, little is known about the sleep consequences of simultaneously occupying paid and unpaid caregiving roles. This study investigated the frequency with which women employed in U.S.-based nursing homes entered and exited unpaid caregiving roles for children (double-duty-child caregivers), adults (double-duty-elder caregivers), or both (triple-duty caregivers), as well as examined how combinations of and changes in these caregiving roles related to cross-sectional and longitudinal sleep patterns.

Research Design and Methods:
The sample comprised 1,135 women long-term care employees who participated in the baseline wave of the Work, Family, and Health Study and were assessed at three follow-up time points (6-, 12-, and 18-months). Sleep was assessed with items primarily adapted from the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index and wrist actigraphic recordings. Multilevel models with data nested within persons were applied.

Results:
Women long-term care employees entered and exited the unpaid elder caregiving role most frequently. At baseline, double-duty-child and triple-duty caregivers reported shorter sleep quantity and poorer sleep quality than their counterparts without unpaid caregiving roles, or workplace-only caregivers. Double-duty-elder caregivers also reported shorter sleep duration compared to workplace-only caregivers. Over time, double-duty-elder caregiving role entry was associated with negative changes in subjective sleep quantity and quality.

Discussion and Implications:
Simultaneously occupying paid and unpaid caregiving roles has negative implications for subjective sleep characteristics. These results call for further research to advance understanding of double-and-triple-duty caregivers’ sleep health and facilitate targeted intervention development.

Does Paid Family Leave Reduce Nursing Home Use? The California Experience

Source: Kanika Arora, Douglas A. Wolf, Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, Volume 37, Issue 1, Winter 2018
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
The intent of Paid Family Leave (PFL) is to make it financially easier for individuals to take time off from paid work to care for children and seriously ill family members. Given the linkages between care provided by family members and the usage of paid services, we examine whether California’s PFL program influenced nursing home utilization in California during the 1999 to 2008 period. This is the first empirical study to examine the effects of PFL on long-term care patterns. Multivariate difference-in-difference estimates across alternative comparison groups provide consistent evidence that the implementation of PFL reduced the proportion of the elderly population in nursing homes by 0.5 to 0.7 percentage points. Our preferred estimate, employing an empirically-matched group of control states, finds that PFL reduced nursing home usage by about 0.65 percentage points. For California, this represents an 11 percent relative decline in elderly nursing home utilization.

Persistent Gaps: State Child Care Assistance Policies 2017

Source: Karen Schulman and Helen Blank, National Women’s Law Center, October 2017

From the summary:
Child care is crucial for the well-being of parents, children, and our nation. It makes it possible for parents to work and support their families. It gives children a safe, nurturing environment to learn and develop skills they need to succeed in school and in life. And, by strengthening the current and future workforce, it bolsters our nation’s economy. Yet many families, particularly low-income families, struggle with the high cost of child care. These costs can strain families’ budgets, force parents to use lower-cost care even if they would prefer other options for their children, or prevent parents from working because they cannot afford care. Child care assistance can enable families to overcome these challenges by helping families pay for child care.

Given the importance of child care assistance to families, it is essential for states to have strong child care assistance policies. Under the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG), the major federal child care assistance program, states have flexibility to set policies within federal parameters. This report examines states’ policies in five key areas—income eligibility limits to qualify for child care assistance, waiting lists for child care assistance, copayments required of parents receiving child care assistance, payment rates for child care providers serving families receiving child care assistance, and eligibility for child care assistance for parents searching for a job. These policies are fundamental to determining families’ ability to obtain child care assistance and the extent of help that assistance provides.

– Families in 41 states were better off—having greater access to assistance and/or receiving greater benefits from assistance—in February 2017 than in February 2016 under one or more child care assistance policies covered in this report.
– Families in 14 states were worse off under one or more of these policies in February 2017 than in February 2016.

Although there were more improvements than cutbacks between 2016 and 2017, the improvements states made were generally modest and too small to close persistent, substantial gaps in families’ access to assistance and the level of assistance available.

Paid Family Leave, Fathers’ Leave-Taking, and Leave-Sharing in Dual-Earner Households

Source: Ann P. Bartel, Maya Rossin-Slater, Christopher J. Ruhm, Jenna Stearns, Jane Waldfogel, Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, Early View, November 6, 2017
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Using difference-in-difference and difference-in-difference-in-difference designs, we study California’s Paid Family Leave (CA-PFL) program, the first source of government-provided paid parental leave available to fathers in the Unites States. Relative to the pre-treatment mean, fathers of infants in California are 46 percent more likely to be on leave when CA-PFL is available. In households where both parents work, we find suggestive evidence that CA-PFL increases both father-only leave-taking (i.e., father on leave while mother is at work) and joint leave-taking (i.e., both parents on leave at the same time). Effects are larger for fathers of first-born children than for fathers of later-born children.

Paid Family and Medical Leave Programs: State Pathways and Design Options

Source: Sarah Jane Glynn, Alexandra L. Bradley, and Benjamin W. Veghte, National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI), September 2017

From the summary:
Time off to provide care for the health and well-being of a family member or for a worker’s own illness or injury is a near-universal need of workers from all backgrounds. Paid family and medical leave offers protection against financial hardship for employees requiring such time away from work to provide or receive care. The United States is an extreme outlier in its lack of a national paid leave program. In the absence of a national program, several states have established paid leave programs for medical and family caregiving needs. States have taken different pathways to creating their paid leave programs and have pursued different design options in terms of structure, funding, and program administration.

This brief discusses the current landscape of paid leave access, the history behind existing state-level programs, and policy considerations for states developing future paid family and medical leave programs. It begins with an overview of paid leave coverage in the United States, including a discussion of inequality in access to existing programs and benefits. This is followed by a discussion of the growing need for paid leave programs. The history of existing state-level policies is addressed through a description of the policy pathways and design choices that were made in the development and implementation of these programs. The brief then considers the benefits and challenges of various design options (i.e., program structure, funding, and administration) that states will weigh when designing new paid leave policy. Finally, the brief considers the current research on the economic and health impacts of paid leave programs, and discusses critical questions for future study.