Category Archives: Family & Work

Free Riding on Families: Why the American Workplace Needs to Change and How to Do It

Source: Phoebe Taubman, American Constitution Society, Issue Brief, December 2009

From the summary:
ACS is pleased to distribute “Free Riding on Families: Why the American Workplace Needs to Change and How to Do It,” an Issue Brief by Phoebe Taubman, an Equal Justice Works Fellow with A Better Balance: The Work and Family Legal Center, based in New York City. Today’s fast-paced economy relies on many different resources, including electricity, fuel, technology, and the labor of our workers, among many others. Ms. Taubman argues, though, that there is one critical resource whose value we do not fully recognize, and without which our economy would founder: the unpaid work of caring for our families. Whether it is the education and care of the next generation or the comfort and care of the elderly, this work produces extensive benefits for society and we could not go on without it. Ms. Taubman, employing a variety of statistics, discusses the staggering costs imposed on unpaid caregivers, most of whom are women, and on their families, companies, and society as a whole. She contends that, “[f]or a country whose politicians tout family values, the United States has done little to confront these costs and support the critical work that families provide.”

Caregivers as a Protected Class?: The growth of state and local laws prohibiting family responsibilities discrimination

Source: Stephanie Bornstein, Robert J. Rathmell, Center for WorkLife Law at the University of California, December 2009

From the press release:
At least 63 local governments in 22 states–including some of the nation’s major urban areas–have passed employment anti‐discrimination laws that go beyond federal and state statutes to ensure that those with caregiving responsibilities are not discriminated against at work. Cases filed under these local laws, such as one recent decision in Chicago, have the potential to result in substantial damages, fines, and attorneys fees.

Today, the Center for WorkLife Law at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law released the first comprehensive nationwide survey of state and local laws that prohibit family responsibilities discrimination, or FRD. FRD occurs when employees are penalized at work–fired, demoted, denied promotions or employment benefits, or harassed–because of their caregiving responsibilities at home, whether for children, an ill partner, or an elderly relative. While most of the local laws cover parents and those with responsibilities for children, some go further to include other caregiving relationships.

The new report shows that, going beyond state and federal statutes, cities and counties have taken it upon themselves to ensure their residents are not discriminated against in public and private employment settings based on familial status or responsibilities.

Caregiving in the U.S. 2009

Source: National Alliance for Caregiving in Collaboration with AARP; Funded by The MetLife Foundation, December 2009

From the summary:
Caregiving is still mostly a woman’s job and many women are putting their career and financial futures on hold as they juggle part-time caregiving and full-time job requirements. This is the reality reported in Caregiving in the U.S. 2009, the most comprehensive examination to date of caregiving in America. The first national profile of caregivers, Family Caregiving in the U.S. was published in 1997, and an updated version of the study, Caregiving in the U.S., was reported in 2004.

The sweeping 2009 study of the legions of people caring for younger adults, older adults, and children with special needs reveals that 29 percent of the U.S. adult population, or 65.7 million people, are caregivers, including 31 percent of all households. These caregivers provide an average of 20 hours of care per week. The 2009 reports also begin to trend the findings from all three waves of the study.

Families Need to Man Up

Source: Kathleen Deveny, Newsweek, December 4, 2009

With schools winding down for the holidays, the flu season picking up, and unemployment topping 10 percent, anxiety has never been more acute for many working parents. That is especially true of working mothers. America is approaching a milestone: women are about to hold more than 50 percent of jobs for the first time, in part because men have been hit harder by layoffs. And yet women still shoulder the bulk of child-care responsibilities because of retrograde family roles, school-event schedules, and employers’ attitudes. All of which can force an otherwise honest woman to fib.

“We Thought We Were Going to Get It Done”: Examining the Paid Family Leave Campaign in Massachusetts

Source: Lori Gardinier, Journal of Workplace Rights, Vol. 13 no. 4, 2008
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
This case study identifies the factors that promoted the mobilization and de-escalation of the paid family leave campaign in Massachusetts from 1998 to 2002. These factors are compared against those involved in the California campaign that resulted in the successful passage of legislation. The present article provides a unique exploration of paid family leave organizing and reveals the problems that are specific to mobilization for this issue. This research is significant to social movement research and policy studies because it highlights the elements, processes, and resources that influence and foster meaningful and effective coalition building, and the relationships between mobilization groups and larger systems. This case study applies interview, documentary and economic indicators. The primary conclusion is that intertwined economic, political, and organizational factors coupled with proposed policy components impeded success in Massachusetts and that the factors and policy in Massachusetts differed from the conditions and policy proposals in California.

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