Category Archives: Family & Work

Equal Pay for Mothers Is Critical for Families

Source: Jasmine Tucker, National Women’s Law Center, Fact Sheet, May 2017

From the summary:
More than 22.8 million mothers with children under 18 are in the workforce, making up nearly 1 in 6 – or 15.5 percent – of all workers. The great majority of these mothers work full time. In 2015, 42 percent of mothers were sole or primary family breadwinners, while 22.4 percent of mothers were co-breadwinners, meaning families are increasingly relying on mothers’ earnings.

While women in the U.S. who work full time, year round are typically paid just 80 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts, the wage gap between mothers and fathers is even larger. Mothers working full time, year round outside the home are paid just 71 cents for every dollar paid to fathers, a gap that translates to a loss of $16,000 annually. The wage gap between mothers and fathers exists across education level, age, location, race, and occupation, and compromises families’ economic security….

The Better Work Toolkit: A Science-Based Approach to Designing Work-Life Solutions That Work

Source: Brigid Schulte, Dan Connolly and Uyhun Ung, New America, Better Life Lab, March 30, 2017

…..The answer is not to jettison flexibility, collaboration, and autonomy, but rather, to use an understanding of human psychology to redesign work systems in order for individuals, teams and organizations to use them more skillfully. In this toolkit, we outline the challenges, best practices and promising new ideas to ease four particularly thorny choke points—reducing e-mail overload, inefficient meetings, and long work hours, and increasing restful time off—based on universal behavioral science principles…..

What Do Moms Really Need This Mother’s Day? Paid Family Leave

Source: Tillie McInnis, Refinery29, May 12, 2017

….Paid leave allows a worker to take time off in order to prioritize wellness, family, and life outside of work without losing pay (or risking their job security). Paid leave includes, but is not limited to family leave, personal leave, and sick leave. It seems like a simple concept that everyone should have access to, yet 61% of those on the lowest rungs of the income ladder don’t have a single paid sick day, and only 13% of U.S. workers have some paid family leave through their employers. It feels almost too obvious to be highlighting, but it’s an important point: Paid sick days are good for workers, and they don’t cost businesses much. Compared to other developed countries, the U.S. is seriously lagging in paid leave. We are one of the few developed countries still having contentious debates about abortion, and yet when a child is born, there are few to no laws in place that help children and families thrive. We put businesses first, claiming that it is too costly for employers to provide paid sick days, but as research shows, that is simply not the case. In New York City specifically, businesses surveyed found little to no increase in costs when they started to provide employees with paid sick days…..
Related:
How America Treats Working Moms Like Shit
Source: Laura Smith, Mother Jones, May/June 2017

….As many have pointed out, all moms are working moms, regardless of whether they are paid for their work. But as sociologist Arlie Hochschild put it in her book The Second Shift, mothers juggling housework with a day job enjoy a “double burden.” In time for Mother’s Day, here’s a short history of some of America’s most underappreciated employees…..

Survey of Paid Parental Leave in the United States

Source: WorldatWork, May 2017

This report summarizes the results of a November 2016 survey of United States (U.S.) organizations to gather data about the use of paid parental leave programs that provide paid time off to new-parent employees, separate from other paid-time off programs (PTO, vacation, sick, etc.). This survey explored how much paid leave is given, eligibility requirements and the relationship to other paid time off programs.

Child Care Expenses Push Many Families Into Poverty

Source: Beth Mattingly, Christopher T. Wimer, University of New Hampshire, Carsey School of Public Policy, National Fact Sheet no. 36, Spring 2017

From the summary:
How often are low-income families pushed into poverty by their child care expenses? In this fact sheet, we use the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) to assess the extent to which child care expenses are pushing families with young children into poverty.

Nearly one-third (30.4 percent) of families with young children are poor. To fall under the SPM poverty line means that a family’s income would be less than $26,000 a year on average, with variations by family composition and geographic location. Among poor families with young children, 12.3 percent incur child care expenses according to our analyses of the SPM. For families earning this little income, child care expense can be a burden. Of those who pay for child care, nearly one in ten (9.4 percent) are poor (Figure 1). Roughly one third of these poor families are pushed into poverty by child care expenses. This represents an estimated 207,000 families.

Among families with young children who pay for child care, those with three or more children, those headed by a single parent, those with black or Hispanic household heads, and those headed by someone with less than a high school degree or by someone who does not work full time are most often pushed into poverty by child care expenses. Notably, these are also the families that tend to have the highest rates of poverty.

Key Findings:
• One third of poor families who pay for child care for their young children are pushed into poverty by their child care expenses.
• Families most often pushed into poverty by child care expenses include households with three or more children, those headed by a single parent, those with a black or Hispanic head of household, and those headed by someone with less than a high school degree or by someone who does not work full time.
Related:
Press release

Divergent Trends in US Maternity and Paternity Leave, 1994–2015

Source: Jay L. Zagorsky, American Journal of Public Health, Vol. 107, No. 3, March 2017
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Objectives. To determine the number and type of US workers taking maternity or paternity leave.

Methods. We created a publicly available ecological long-term series for measuring parental leave from 1994 to 2015 by using the Current Population Survey, which interviews about 60 000 randomly selected households monthly.

Results. The average month from 1994 to 2015 saw 273 000 women and 13 000 men on maternity or paternity leave. Maternity leave rates per 10 000 births showed no trend over 22 years (mean = 677.6). Paternity figures increased by a factor of 3, but started from a small base (14.7–54.6). We observed no national impact on maternity or paternity leave after implementation of state laws that provided paid leave. About half (51.1%) of employees on maternity or paternity leave during 2015 received paid time off. The typical woman on maternity leave was older, more likely married, more likely non-Hispanic White, and more educated than the typical woman who gave birth.

Conclusions. Although the US economy has expanded dramatically since 1994, this improvement does not appear to have translated into more women taking maternity leave.

The Impact of Work/Family Conflict and Workplace Social Support on Mental Distress in Home Health Workers

Source: Ahyoung Lee, Yuri Jang, Home Health Care Management & Practice, OnlineFirst, First Published April 11, 2017
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
The study explored the role of work/family conflict and workplace social support in predicting home health workers’ mental distress using a sample of home health workers in Central Texas (n = 150). The result of multivariate analysis showed that work/family conflict increased mental distress, while client support and organizational support decreased mental distress. In addition to the direct effects, client support was found to buffer the negative impact of work/family conflict. Findings call attention to the ways to reduce work/family conflict and increase workplace social support in efforts to promote home health workers’ mental well-being.

Universal Child Care, Maternal Employment, and Children’s Long-Run Outcomes: Evidence from the US Lanham Act of 1940

Source: Chris M. Herbst, Journal of Labor Economics, Vol. 35 no. 2, April 2017
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
This paper analyzes the US Lanham Act of 1940, a heavily subsidized and universal child care program administered during World War II. I first estimate its impact on maternal employment using a triple-differences model. I find that employment increased substantially following the introduction of the program. I then study children’s long-run labor market outcomes. Using Census data from 1970 to 1990, I assess well-being in a life-cycle framework by tracking cohorts of treated individuals throughout their prime working years. Results from difference-in-differences models suggest the program had persistent positive effects, with the largest benefits accruing to the most economically disadvantaged adults.