Category Archives: Family & Work

Preschoolers Enrolled and Mothers at Work? The Effects of Universal Pre-Kindergarten

Source: Maria Fitzpatrick, US Census Bureau Center for Economic Studies, Paper no. CES-WP-08-04, March 01, 2008

Three states (Georgia, Oklahoma and Florida) recently introduced Universal Pre- Kindergarten (Universal Pre-K) programs offering free preschool to all age-eligible children, and policy makers in many other states are promoting similar policies. How do such policies affect the participation of children in preschool programs (or do they merely substitute for preschool offered by the market)? Does the implicit child care subsidy afforded by Universal Pre-K change maternal labor supply? I present a model that includes preferences for child quality and shows the directions of change in preschool enrollment and maternal labor supply in response to Universal Pre-K programs are theoretically ambiguous. Using restricted-access data from the Census, together with year and birthday based eligibility cutoffs, I employ a regression discontinuity framework to estimate the effects of Universal Pre-K availability. Universal Pre-K availability increases preschool enrollment by 12 to 15 percent, with the largest effect on children of women with less than a Bachelor’s Degree. Universal Pre-K availability has little effect on the labor supply of most women. However, women residing in rural areas in Georgia increase their children’s preschool enrollment and their own employment by 22 and 20 percent, respectively, when Universal Pre-K is available.

What Family Leave?

Source: Stephanie Mencimer, Mother Jones, June 23, 2008

When it passed in 1993, the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was supposed to be the beginning of a new movement to reshape the workplace to reflect the needs of working families. But the bill–allowing some workers to take a few weeks off, unpaid, to care for a new baby or a sick family member without losing their jobs–is incomplete. It does nothing for people who simply can’t afford to take unpaid leave, while leaving out 40 percent of the workforce, including millions of workers employed by companies with fewer than 50 employees in a 75-mile radius, those who work part time, or, strangely, flight attendants. The US is the only industrialized country in the world that doesn’t provide paid maternity leave, putting it on par with such nations as Liberia and Swaziland, according to one study. But for 15 years the FMLA has been the beginning and the end of federal work/family policymaking.

Adecco USA Survey Reveals Different Perceptions of Access to Work/Life Benefits Among Working Dads, Moms & Non-Parents

Source: Adecco, June 9, 2008

From the press release:
MELVILLE, N.Y. (June 9, 2008) – The latest Adecco USA Workplace Insights survey commissioned in celebration of Father’s Day found that working fathers have a lot in common with working mothers when it comes to managing work/life priorities. Not only do the majority of working moms (71%) and dads (64%) agree that managing their family lives is more challenging than their careers, more than half (55%) of all working fathers think companies should do more to help them achieve a better work/life balance. This shift in priorities reflects the reality that today’s dads are more equally sharing the family responsibilities with moms, with the most recent U.S. Census Bureau survey confirming this shift with the number of stay at home dads increasing by almost 50% over the past decade.

Employers Should Take Care When Making Decisions About Caregivers

Source: Margaret M. Pinkham
Employee Relations Law Journal
Vol. 34, no. 1, Summer 2008

In this article, the author discusses an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission enforcement guidance, Unlawful Disparate Treatment of Workers with Caregiving Responsibilities, and provides suggestions as to how employer can use lessons from the past as a guide to prevent caregiver discrimination claims from being the next wave of discrimination cases in the future.

Family Responsibilities Discrimination: The EEOC Guidance

Source: C. W. VonBergen, William T. Mawer, and Robert Howard
Employee Relations Law Journal
Vol. 34, no. 1, Summer 2008

Family responsibilities discrimination, involving bias against workers based on their responsibilities to care for family members, is one of the newest 21st century workplace concerns. In response to this issue, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently published guidelines that document circumstances in which stereotypes or disparate treatment of employees with family responsibility may violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 or the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. This article explains these guidelines and what companies can do to avoid potential legal problems and accompanying liabilities with respect to family caregiving responsibilities.

Family Responsibilities Discrimination: Examining the Issues, Understanding the Legal Risks, and Exploring Positive Solutions

Source: Roger S. Kaplan
Employee Relations Law Journal
Vol. 34, no. 1, Summer 2008

This article analyzes family responsibility discrimination claims, the statutory bases for the claims, case law precedents, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s guidance on the disparate treatment of workers with caregiving responsibilities. In addition, the author makes suggestions on how employers can develop the right mix of flexibility and fairness in work scheduling, leave policies, dependent care assistance, and benefits in order to be less vulnerable to charges of discrimination and other legal claims in this challenging environment.

2008 National Study of Employers

Source: Ellen Galinsky, James T. Bond, Kelly Sakai, Stacy S. Kim, Nicole Giuntoli, Families and Work Institute, 2008

First conducted in 1998, the 2008 NSE is the most comprehensive and far-reaching study of initiatives provided by U.S. employers to address the changing needs of today’s workforce. Designed by Families and Work Institute and conducted by Harris Interactive, Inc., the NSE interviewed 1,100 employers with 50 or more employees located throughout the United States and provides trend data on changes that have occurred over the past 10 years. The study addresses questions such as:
• What is the prevalence of programs, policies, and benefits that address the needs of the changing workforce, including workplace flexibility, caregiving leaves, child and elder care assistance, and health care/economic security benefits?
• Are smaller or larger employers more likely to provide these programs, policies, and benefits?
• Have these initiatives increased or decreased in the past ten years?
• Which employers provider higher levels of support to their employees?

Paid Maternity Leave Still On The Wishlist For Many U.S. Mothers

Source: Heidi Shierholz and Emily Garr, Economic Policy Institute, Snapshot, May 7, 2008

This Mother’s Day, we reflect on the critical but often overlooked issue of maternity leave. In a selection of 19 countries with comparable per capita income, the United States provides the fewest maternity leave benefits in both length of leave and paid time off (see chart). This is considered separate from any disability insurance for which one may qualify. In fact, the United States falls two weeks short of the International Labor Organization’s basic minimum standard of at least 14 weeks general leave. It is also the only country not to guarantee some amount of leave with income.

Towers Perrin Study Debunks Common Workforce Myths – Stress, Technology and Bosses Not Always the Enemy

Source: Towers Perrin, Press Release, February 20, 2008

Based on the Global Workforce Study 2007

Stamford, CT, February 20, 2008 – Some of the most pervasive beliefs about the workforce have recently been challenged by findings from Towers Perrin’s 2007 Global Workforce Study – among them, that workers are highly stressed, that they resent the demands of new technologies and that they dislike their bosses.

To understand what drives employees to perform and succeed, Towers Perrin recently surveyed nearly 90,000 employees in 18 countries. The survey, which explored the drivers of workforce engagement – employees’ willingness to go the extra mile to help their companies succeed – also exploded many of the myths that surround today’s workforce.

Who’s Minding the Kids? Child Care Arrangements: Spring 2005

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Housing and Household Economic Statistics Division, Fertility & Family Statistics Branch, 2008

From the press release:
Relatives regularly provide child care to almost half of the more than 19 million preschoolers, according to tabulations released today by the U.S. Census Bureau. Fathers and grandparents were the primary relative child care providers.

The series of tables, Who’s Minding the Kids? Child Care Arrangements: Spring 2005, showed that among the 11.3 million children younger than 5 whose mothers were employed, 30 percent were cared for on a regular basis by a grandparent during their mother’s working hours. A slightly greater percentage spent time in an organized care facility, such as a day care center, nursery or preschool. Meanwhile, 25 percent received care from their fathers, 3 percent from siblings and 8 percent from other relatives when mothers went to work.

The tables provide data on child care arrangements of preschoolers and grade-schoolers by various demographic characteristics of the employed mother. They also profile children who care for themselves on a regular basis and examine the size of weekly child care payments made by selected characteristics of the family.
Weekly Child Care Costs 1985-2005