Tag Archives: Childcare

Paternity Leave: The Rewards and the Remaining Stigma – New York Times

This article notes that fathers who opt to take paternity leave can still face workplace stigma, and it can lead to lower pay and fewer promotions. This mirrors long-standing disadvantages experienced by new mothers in the workplace.

While paternity leave can have long-lasting beneficial effects for both parent and child, taking time off work for family reasons has been shown to reduce men’s earnings, just as it reduced women’s earnings. The article further argues that there are “unwritten workplace norms” that can discourage men from taking advantage of it. Moreover, the share of US companies offering paternity leave has dropped by five percent between 2010 and 2014.

The author point out that this also has implications for women’s involvement in the workplace, as increasing men’s involvement at home is one of the best ways to bolster female participation in the workforce.

Read more at The New York Times.

Change.org boosts paid parental leave perks for all new parents – Fortune

In light of recent announcements from prominent technology companies to pay to have female employees eggs frozen, Change.org President Jennifer Dulski announces that the company will offer the same level of parental leave to every employee.

While pointing out that generous benefits like these can be good for business — keeping skilled and experienced staff in the workplace — she also feels it is important that companies don’t “create a set of policies that generate a set of behaviors that perpeturate inequalities among different types of parents.”

Read more at Fortune.

Heejung Chung on BBC Radio Kent’s Julia George Show – 24 September 2014

On Wednesday 24th September, Heejung Chung appeared on Julia George’s BBC Radio Kent show to talk about work-life balance, work-family conflict, and how flexible working can mean work extends into all aspects of life.

Clip courtesy of BBC Radio Kent.

How much balance is there between your work-life and family-life?

In this blog, originally published at The Conversation, WAF Project Principal Investigator, Heejung Chung, explores European Survey data on work-life balance. 

This week celebrates the 3rd  annual National Work-Life Week in the UK, organised by WAF Project advisory board members Working Families.  It’s where both employers and workers are asked to think about their work-life balance and perhaps try to strike a balance, if only for a week.

But how are we doing in terms of work-life balance? To what extent do people in the UK feel like they are satisfied with the balance between their work and family life? Who feels more balance, why?  And, more importantly, what can be done to improve work-life balance for everyone? Continue reading

Family Roles as Moderators of the Relationship Between Schedule Flexibility and Stress – Jang et al.

Using US data, this study explored the mediating role of negative work–family spillover in the relationship between schedule flexibility and employee stress, and the moderating roles of gender, family workload and single-parent status.

It demonstrates that though schedule flexibility was associated with less employee stress, the associations between these factors were mediated by perceptions of negative work–family spillover.

Schedule flexibility reduced negative work–family spillover and stress among women, single parents, and employees with heavier family workloads. As such, the authors maintain this supports schedule flexibility as a means of reducing stress for those employees with family responsibilities.

Jang, Soo Jung; Zippay, Allison; Park, Rhokeun (2012) “Family Roles as Moderators of the Relationship Between Schedule Flexibility and Stress” Journal of Marriage and Family, 74

Available at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1741-3737.2012.00984.x/abstract

The Fourth Work-Life Balance Employee Survey – Tipping et al.

This wide ranging survey for the UK Government’s Department of Business, Innovation and Skills explore work-life balance and flexible working arrangements in the UK.

Key findings include:

  • Flexitime, working from home and part-time working were the forms of flexible working most commonly taken up by employees.
  • 90% of employees agreed that having more choice in working arrangements improves morale
  • 35% of employees felt that people who work flexibly create more work for others
  • The availability of flexible working was important for 41% of employees when they made their decision to work for their current employer.
  • Those with flexible working arrangements were more likely to work long hours, suggesting that such practices facilitate greater labour market involvement.

Tipping, Sarah; Chanfreau, Jenny; Perry, Jane; Tait, Claire (2012) The Fourth Work-Life Balance Employee Survey, Employment Relations Research Series 122, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/32153/12-p151-fourth-work-life-balance-employee-survey.pdf

Dutch workers and time pressure: household and workplace characteristics – Ver der Lippe

The author argues that both workplace and household characteristics must be considered when analysing employee time pressure.

They point to data that suggests job design with deadlines and a large degree of autonomy increases feelings of time pressure. These feelings are also increased for workers with young children.

These are experienced unevenly between genders, however. Men are more responsive to workplace factors, and women to those in the household.

Van der Lippe,  Tanja (2007) “Dutch workers and time pressure: household and workplace characteristics” Work, Employment and Society, 21(4)

Available at: http://wes.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/21/4/693

Ask and Ye Shall Receive? The Dynamics of Employer-Provided Flexible Work Options and the Need for Public Policy – Brescoll et al.

This article demonstrates that flexible working was more likely to be granted to high-status men who requested flexible schedules to allow them to further develop their careers.

For women, neither their status nor their reason for wanting a flexible schedule significantly impacted decisions to grant their request.

They suggest this has the effect of both reinforcing gendered status hierarchies, and perpetuating them.

Managers’ Willingness to Grant Flexitime Request (Brescoll et al., 2013: 376)
Male target Female target
Low Status High Status Low Status High Status
Childcare Career Childcare Career Childcare Career Childcare Career
Means 6.04 5.46 5.32 6.31 5.75 5.86 5.54 5.67
SE .32 .21 .27 .23 .34 .32 .27 .41

Brescoll, Victoria, L.; Glass, Jennifer; Sedlovskaya, Alexandra (2013) “Ask and Ye Shall Receive? The Dynamics of Employer-Provided Flexible Work Options and the Need for Public Policy” Journal of Social Issues, 69(2)

Available at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/josi.12019/abstract

‘Oi Clegg, as long as fathers have to ask for paternity leave, we’ll never bother’ – The Telegraph

Responding to calls from UK Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, ‘for radical change to create equal opportunities in our parental leave system‘, this comment piece argues that until men have an automatic statutory right for parental leave there will not be widespread change in habits of childcare and working patterns.

The author notes his feeling of guilt as he leaves his wife to look after a new born child, but also that he fears a request by him for parental leave would be refused and, ultimately, damage his career prospects.

Read more on The Telegraph,

Genuinely flexible working for parents and carers remains the exception – The Guardian

This article questions the extent to which UK workplaces allow flexible working for carers and parents. It reports comments that suggest women are unable to recover their careers after taking time out of work for childcare with concomitant losses in productivity.

It suggests that line managers can play a key role in workplace flexibility and need to be educated about the importance of work-life balance in maintaining and improving worker engagement, loyalty and productivity.

Read more on The Guardian.