Category Archives: Family & Work

Wellbeing & Business Performance

Source: Morgan Redwood, 2009
(registration required)

Companies pay huge attention to their key financials – sales margin, throughput, operational costs and so forth. However an asset that also drives corporate performance and which is often overlooked in tough times is people.

What impact is the current economic downturn having on people management? Do organisations see talent as a valuable resource or a commodity that can be easily replaced? What about staff wellbeing? Do the UK’s businesses see the health, happiness and mindset of their people as a detriment of corporate success and therefore something they should pay attention to? Perhaps most fundamentally, does the way a company treat its people impact on corporate performance?

The Association Between Work-Family Conflict and Job Burnout Among Correctional Staff: A Preliminary Study

Source: Eric Lambert, Nancy L. Hogan, and Irshad Altheimer, American Journal of Criminal Justice, published online October 21, 2009
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Working in corrections can be a demanding career in which work-family conflict and job burnout are possible. This study examined the relationship of the different forms of work-family conflict (time-based conflict, strain-based conflict, behavior-based conflict, and family on work conflict) with job burnout. Multivariate analysis of survey results from 160 staff who worked at a private Midwestern correctional facility for youthful offenders indicated that strain-based conflict, behavior-based conflict, and family on work conflict all had positive associations with job burnout. Time-based conflict had a non-significant relationship with job burnout.

The State of City Leadership for Children and Families

Source: Julie Bosland and Michael Karpman, National League of Cities, Institute for Youth, Education, & Families, 2009

From the summary:
A new report by NLC’s Institute for Youth, Education, and Families identifies the nation’s 32 most cutting-edge city innovations to help children and families thrive, and documents emerging and established trends in municipal leadership to promote child and family well-being. “The State of City Leadership for Children and Families” highlights the progress cities have made and the potential for future action.

America’s Families and Living Arrangements 2007

Source: Rose M. Kreider and Diana B. Elliott, U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Reports, September 2009

Some highlights of the report are:
– Sixty-eight percent of households in 2007 were family households, compared with 81 percent in 1970.
– The proportion of one-person households increased by 10 percentage points between 1970 and 2007, from 17 percent to 27 percent.
– Between 1970 and 2007, the average number of people per household declined from 3.1 to 2.6.
– Most family groups with children under 18 (67 percent) were maintained by married couples.
– The vast majority of fathers who lived with their child under 18 also lived with the child’s mother (94 percent). In comparison, 74 percent of mothers living with their child under 18 also lived with the child’s father.
– Stay-at-home mothers were younger and had younger children than other mothers.
– Stay-at-home mothers were more likely to be Hispanic than non-stay-at-home mothers.
– Stay-at-home mothers were more likely to be foreign born than non-stay-at-home mothers.
– Among children living with a parent, younger children were more likely than older children to live with two unmarried parents. So, while 10 percent of infants under age 1 lived with two unmarried parents, 1 percent of children 12 to 17 lived with two unmarried parents.
– Among children living with unmarried parents, older children were more likely than younger children to live with their father only, with no other adult present. Only about 2 percent of children under 3 lived with their father who was the sole adult, while 11 percent of teens 12 to 17 did.
See also:
Census Report Shines New Light on Women “Opting Out”
Source: Sue Shellenbarger, Wall Street Journal, October 5, 2009

Family-Friendly Workplaces: Do Unions Make a Difference?

Source: Jenifer MacGillvary with Netsy Firestein, UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education and
the Labor Project for Working Families, July 2009

This report analyzes the “union difference” in family-friendly workplace policies and finds that in areas such as paid family leave, paid sick days, family health insurance, and child-care benefits unionized workers receive more generous family-friendly benefits than their nonunionized counterparts.
See also:
Executive Summary
Press Release

Flexible Work Arrangements and Low-Wage Work: Creating Opportunity for Low-Wage Workers

Source: The New America Foundation, July 8, 2009

Low-wage workers are some of America’s most vulnerable workers. In addition to the problem of having low wages, many have little input into the hours that they work and many have unpredictable work schedules, with the timing and amount of work hours fluctuating from week to week. A cascade of negative consequences can flow from being unable to alter work schedules or know them in advance – including unstable child care; difficulty accessing work supports and job training; transportation problems; inability to hold down a second job; loss of wages and job loss.

Flexible work arrangements (FWAs) – including both employee input into scheduling and predictable work schedules – are an important part of the solution to these problems for low-wage workers and for employers. Come join the New America Foundation’s Workforce and Family Program and Workplace Flexibility 2010 of Georgetown University Law Center as our panelists present the latest research on scheduling challenges faced by low-wage workers, highlight common sense solutions that have been implemented by businesses and discuss how public policy can enhance access to FWAs for low-wage workers.

See also:
Low-Wage Schedules and the Child Care Struggle
Source: Lisa Guernsey, Early Ed Watch blog, New America Foundation, July 9, 2009
Public Policy Platform on Flexible Work Arrangements
Source: Workplace Flexibility 2010, May 2009

No Paid Leave for New Moms

Source: Elise Gould, Economic Policy Institute, Economic Snapshot, May 6, 2009

This Mother’s Day we reflect on the critical but often overlooked issue of maternity leave. Among peer countries with comparable per capita income (i.e., those in the G7), the United States provides the fewest mandated maternity leave benefits in both length of leave and amount of paid time off.

The PDA’s Causation Effect: Observations of an Unreasonable Woman

Source: Michelle A. Travis, Yale Journal of Law & Feminism, Forthcoming

From the abstract:
While many scholars rightfully have critiqued the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) as falling short of achieving the ultimate goal of equal employment opportunities for women, this Article reveals one of the PDA’s most important successes. By recognizing pregnant women as a given in the workplace, the PDA launched a quiet revolution in the way that judges make causal attributions for adverse employment outcomes. Specifically, the PDA provided judges with the conceptual tools that were needed to help shift causal attributions to an employer, rather than attributing a pregnant woman’s struggles in the workplace to her own decision to become a mother. Because our notions of responsibility follow our notions of causation, this shift in causal attribution enabled judges to more easily identify employers as legally responsible for the misfit between the conventional workplace and working women’s lives. While this causal attribution shift has been incomplete, it at least laid the foundation for ongoing conversations about how the law might achieve even deeper structural and organizational transformations in the workplace looking forward. By revealing the PDA’s causation transformation story, this Article seeks to shore up that foundation for future efforts at designing workplaces more fully around a caregiving worker norm.

Paid Sick Time Helps Workers Balance Work and Family

Source: Kristin Smith, Carsey Institute, New England Issue Brief No. 11, Spring 2009

Working families across New Hampshire are nervously watching the flu season, hoping they or a family member will be spared this year. For the 26 percent of New Hampshire workers (excluding the self-employed) who do not have paid sick days, however, a sick child or a bout with the flu forces a difficult decision: stay home and lose wages or possibly even your job, or go to work sick or send your sick child to day care or school and put the health of others at risk. This choice is particularly salient during these times of record high unemployment and job layoffs. No one wants to risk appearing less devoted or committed to their job. Workers are all too aware of the instability in the job market, the potential for their employer to be the next casualty in this economic recession, and the long queue of the ready-to-work unemployed.

Employer Best Practices for Workers with Caregiving Responsibilities

Source: U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, April 21, 2009

In 2007, EEOC issued guidance explaining the circumstances under which discrimination against workers with caregiving responsibilities might constitute discrimination based on sex, disability or other characteristics protected by federal employment discrimination laws.

This document supplements the 2007 guidance by providing suggestions for best practices that employers may adopt to reduce the chance of EEO violations against caregivers, and to remove barriers to equal employment opportunity. Best practices are proactive measures that go beyond federal non-discrimination requirements.