Tag Archives: Couples

Navigating Tradeoffs in a Dual-Career Marriage – HBR Blog

Dual-earner couples must face a series of negotiations and trade-offs to deal with the competing demands between their work and personal lives, and also between each of their careers. Questions includes those about whose careers will take priority and how domestic labour will be shared. These can be complicated by societal pressures to perform traditional gender roles.

Research shows that, in practice, work is more likely to encroach on personal life than the other way around. It also shows that, over time, the career of the primary breadwinner will take priority.

There are various strategies couples can employ to improve such negotiations. These often rely on utilising flexible working strategies, and have important implications for work-life balance and job satisfaction.

Read more at the Harvard Business Review Blog.

Family friendly? How the shared parental rules affect you – The Guardian

This article provides an overview of new statutory shared parent leave rules that come into effect in the UK from 5 April. It notes that the rules are designed to challenge assumptions about the role women as the default stay-at-home parent.

New parents will be allowed to split up to 50 weeks off work after having a baby or adopting. The first two weeks has to be for mothers, after which the remaining leave can be shared or transferred to either parent. However, the right only extends to couples where both parents are working, meaning that 40% of fathers won’t be eligible because the mother doesn’t have a paid job.

However, there is also concern that replacement rates may be lower. Statutory rates are 90% of average weekly earnings for the first six weeks, then £139.58 a week or 90% of your average weekly earnings – whichever is lower – for the next 33 weeks. In total, 39 of the 52 weeks will be paid. Employers often enhance maternity leave entitlements, but some suggest that they may be disinclined to do so for shared parental leave, fearing that there would be a massive take-up from eligible male employees. The TUC stresses that unless shared leave is backed up with better pay “couples simply won’t be able to afford to take it”.

Read more at The Guardian.

Rethink What You “Know” About High-Achieving Women – Harvard Business Review

This article looks at the experiences of graduates from Harvard Business School’s MBA programme, to learn what they had to say about work and family and how their experiences, attitudes, and decisions might shed light on current debates about women in the workplace.

The authors found that both men and women shared similar goals and aspirations upon graduation, often citing reaching certain career levels/job titles. Today, however, family happiness, relationships, and balancing life and work, along with community service and helping others, are much more on the minds of these graduates.

However, while their goals may be equivalent across genders, this article notes that their ability to meet these aspirations has played out differently for men and women.

Among those who are employed full-time, men are more likely to “have direct reports, to hold profit-and-loss responsibility, and to be in senior management positions”. Moreover, the authors found that women are less satisfied with their careers:

Whereas about 50% to 60% of men across the three generations told us they were “extremely satisfied” or “very satisfied” with their experiences of meaningful work, professional accomplishments, opportunities for career growth, and compatibility of work and personal life, only 40% to 50% of women were similarly satisfied on the same dimensions.

This is in a context where it is ‘understood’ that women are also less work-focussed, and will ‘opt-out’ of work to assume the role of primary-caregiver for children/relatives, despite evidence that high proportion of women remain in full-time work. Indeed, most men surveyed assumed their careers would take priority over their opposite-sex spouse, and even for the women who had egalitarian career expectations, around half also assumed that they would perform most of the child care in their families.

The article concludes by suggesting that men, organisations and women need to overcome myths and assumptions about women’s attitudes towards work, and role as primary caregiver.

 

Read more at the HBR Blog.

How flexible working really works for dual-earner couples

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.

Here, work-life researcher Laura Radcliffe on the real daily impact of flexible working for dual-earner couples striving to manage their work and family responsibilities. This post was also published at The Conversation. Continue reading

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

Flexible Working and Couples’ Coordination of Time Schedules – Bryan & Sanz

Drawing on UK data, the authors demonstrate that for couples who both enjoy flexible working schedules is greater spouse synchronization in daily working times by nearly one hour. They argue that the expansion of flexitime would increase couples’ work time coordination.

Bryan, Mark; Sanz, Almudena (2014) Flexible Working and Couples’ Coordination of Time Schedules, Discussion Paper 8304, IZA

Available at: http://www.iza.org/en/webcontent/publications/papers/viewAbstract?dp_id=8304

Resolving couples’ work–family conflicts: The complexity of decision making and the introduction of a new framework – Radcliffe & Cassell

Looking at work-family conflict resolution in dual-earning couples with dependent children, this paper argues that work-family decision making proceed in two ways: through ‘anchoring’ decisions – major choices that establish a framework, for ‘daily’ decisions.

Taking up flexible working may be viewed as an anchoring decision, which draws upon and impacts the decision-making framework and daily decisions. The authors thus argue that work-family conflicts must be approached in the context of past events. The paper also provides evidence as to how the impact of flexible work can differ depending on the context of households – how flexible your partner’s work is.

Radcliffe, Laura; Cassell, Catherine (2014) “Resolving couples’ work–family conflicts: The complexity of decision making and the introduction of a new framework” Human Relations, 67(7)

Available at: http://hum.sagepub.com/content/67/7/793