Category Archives: Family & Work

What Would They Do? Childcare under Parental Leave and Reduced Hours Options

Source: Robert Drago, Industrial Relations, Volume 50, Issue 4, October 2011
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Time diary data are used to simulate the effects of parental leave and reduced hours arrangements on childcare time among parents of infants. Estimates suggest that coupled fathers would apply approximately around 70 percent of working time reductions under leave or reduced hours to childcare. Both coupled and single mothers translate working time reductions into childcare at higher rates. The analysis highlights inequalities across lines of gender, marital status and socio-economic status associated with existing policies, and suggests policy innovations to both raise parental investments in childcare time and reduce levels of inequality.

Men and Work-Life Integration: A Global Study

Source: Kathleen M. Lingle, Peter Linkow, Jan Civian, WorldatWork and WFD Consulting, May 2011

From the summary:
A global survey reveals a growing imbalance between what employers say about work-life balance and what they actually do. Every October since 2003, WorldatWork’s Alliance for Work-Life Progress (AWLP) has led a national awareness campaign that promotes work-life effectiveness as a key contributor to productivity and success in the modern workplace. This year the campaign is calling attention to a troubling gap between leaders’ beliefs and behaviors at many organizations.

Employee respondents reported repercussions that included:
* Overtly or subtly discouraged from using flexible work and other work-life programs
* Received unfavorable job assignments
* Received negative performance reviews
* Received negative comments from supervisor
* Denied a promotion

The study found the following prevailing leadership attitudes in developed countries (United States, United Kingdom and Germany):
* More than half of the surveyed managers think the ideal employee is one that is available to meet business needs regardless of business hours
* 40% believe the most productive employees are those without a lot of personal commitments
* Nearly one in three think that employees who use flexible work arrangements will not advance very far in their organization

Family-Friendly Human Resource Policy: Is It Still Working in the Public Sector?

Source: Jungin Kim and Mary Ellen Wiggins, Public Administration Review, Vol. 71 no. 5, September/October 2011
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
The balance between work and family plays a pivotal but evolving role in human resource policy. Ensuring that human resource policy responds to rapidly changing American family demographics, particularly the recent sharp increase in single unmarried Americans, is a major challenge. Compensation policy long has focused on family-oriented values by promising increased capacity to provide for a family in exchange for higher work performance. Now, employees are voicing concerns about matters such as quality time with family, and, in turn, employers are responding by implementing more benefits to achieve a better work-family balance. Strong counterarguments against human resource goals targeted only at families advocate personal policies that emphasize work-life balance for all employees. How well has personal policy kept pace with the shifting compensation preferences of public employees? Results suggest that implementation policies are keeping pace with employee satisfaction. However, levels of employee satisfaction often differ widely by demographic characteristics.

Economic Impacts of Early Care and Education in California

Source: Jenifer MacGillvary and Laurel Lucia, University of California, Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education, August 2011

Early care and education (ECE) is an important industry in California, serving more than 850,000 California children and their families and bringing in gross receipts of at least $5.6 billion annually. The industry not only benefits the children who receive care, but also strengthens the California economy as a whole, which is especially important during this time in which California is struggling with high unemployment and a weak economic recovery. This paper discusses the range of economic benefits that the ECE industry brings to California.

Our review of the research finds that the ECE industry benefits the California economy by promoting and facilitating parents’ ability to participate in the paid workforce. Research has found that high-quality and reliable child care increases worker productivity and improves businesses’ bottom line. Access to ECE reduces absenteeism and decreases turnover. ECE is especially important to the careers and earnings of mothers. Parents’ ability to pursue education is also tied to the availability of ECE.

Caregiving Costs U.S. Economy $25.2 Billion in Lost Productivity

Source: Dan Witters, Gallup, July 27, 2011

Nearly one-third of working caregivers miss at least six work days each year.

This is part two in a special series of in-depth articles on what it means to be a working caregiver in the United States. Part one revealed the demographics of working caregivers in the United States. Part three will look at how caregivers report spending their time and specifics of who they are caring for.

The New Male Mystique

Source: Kerstin Aumann, Ellen Galinsky, Kenneth Matos, Families and Work Institute, National Study of the Changing Workforce, 2011

From the press release:
Families and Work Institute’s (FWI) most recent National Study of the Changing Workforce, a nationally representative study of the U.S. workforce, finds that men now experience more work-family conflict than women. This is especially true among fathers in dual-earner couples whose level of stress has risen from 35% in 1977 to 60% in 2008. Since that finding was released, it has generated a great deal of attention and speculation.

A report released today by FWI, with funding from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the IBM Corporation, The New Male Mystique, is the first to take the same data set and conduct an in-depth exploration of the underlying reasons behind men’s rising work-family conflict.

Pension Crediting for Caregivers: Policies in Finland, France, Germany, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Japan

Source: Elaine Fultz, Institute for Women’s Policy Research, IPWR # D497, June 2011

This report examines pension crediting for caregivers in seven countries. These credits are most often awarded to mothers of young children, but also to fathers, adult children, grandparents, or unrelated caregivers. They improve pension adequacy by compensating for periods of unpaid work during which the care provider makes limited or no pension contributions. The credits may help to establish pension eligibility, advance the date of retirement, improve the pension amount, or affect a combination of these. The countries examined here are Canada, Japan, and five members of the European Union (EU): Finland, France, Germany, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. While the credits are known by a variety of terms, this paper uses for the most part a single phrase: Pension Crediting for Caregivers, or PCC.

The analysis has three parts. Chapter 1 serves as background, describing the national contexts in which PCC occurs, the social objectives it is used to achieve, and the general parameters of PCC scheme designs. Chapter 2 describes variation in PCC features across the seven countries. Drawing on these comparisons, it considers the feasibility of achieving different policy purposes through the use of crediting, with particular reference to the United States, were it to establish PCC. Chapter 3 provides country-by-country descriptions of PCC systems, as well as some relevant features of the national pension systems and the labor markets in which they operate.

FLSA Section 7(r): A New Break for Mothers

Source: Michael McGrorty, Labor Law Journal, Vol. 62 no. 2, Summer 2011
(subscription required)

In recent years, many states have enacted laws concerning breastfeeding. While the majority if these laws simply exempt breastfeeding from the list of acts constituting public nudity, lewdness, and indecent exposure, an increasing number require employers to permit, and even facilitate expressing breast milk in the workplace.

Changing Workplaces to Reduce Work-Family Conflict: Schedule Control in a White-Collar Organization

Source: Erin L. Kelly, Phyllis Moen, and Eric Tranby, American Sociological Review, Vol. 76 no. 2, April 2011
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Work-family conflicts are common and consequential for employees, their families, and work organizations. Can workplaces be changed to reduce work-family conflict? Previous research has not been able to assess whether workplace policies or initiatives succeed in reducing work-family conflict or increasing work-family fit. Using longitudinal data collected from 608 employees of a white-collar organization before and after a workplace initiative was implemented, we investigate whether the initiative affects work-family conflict and fit, whether schedule control mediates these effects, and whether work demands, including long hours, moderate the initiative’s effects on work-family outcomes. Analyses clearly demonstrate that the workplace initiative positively affects the work-family interface, primarily by increasing employees’ schedule control. This study points to the importance of schedule control for our understanding of job quality and for management policies and practices.

Poor, Pregnant, and Fired: Caregiver Discrimination Against Low-Wage Workers

Source: Stephanie Bornstein, Center for WorkLife Law, University of California, Hastings College of the Law, 2011

With limited financial resources, few social supports, and high family caregiving demands, low-wage workers go off to work every day to jobs that offer low pay, few days off, and little flexibility or schedule stability. It should come as no surprise, then, that workers’ family lives conflict with their jobs. What is surprising is the response at work when they do.

This report provides a survey of family responsibilities discrimination (FRD) lawsuits that low-wage workers brought against their employers when they were unfairly penalized at work because of their caregiving responsibilities at home. The report reflects a review of cases brought by low-wage hourly workers, drawn from the more than 2600 cases collected by the Center for WorkLife Law in its FRD case database to date. Fifty such cases are used to illustrate trends in caregiver discrimination lawsuits brought by low-wage workers.

Three key points emerge:
– Low-income families are caught between extreme demands at both home and work.
– Most low-wage workers go to extraordinary measures to meet both work and family responsibilities.
– Low-wage workers often face overwhelming family responsibilities with few social supports.