Tag Archives: Family

Men wanting more time for parenting must demand flexible workplaces – The Age

In Australia, it remains taken for granted that women will take primary responsibility for childcare. It is women who are overwhelmingly the stay-at-home child carers, and women who work part-time to accommodate childcare needs.

While many men might want to take on childcare responsibility there are factors that prevent them from doing so. The gender pay gap means that men often earn more than their female partners, making it more likely women who will give up work. It’s also the case that too few workplaces in Australia offer flexible work arrangements.

This lack of flexible working arrangements make it difficult for men to take on childcare responsibilities. Importantly, however, men must be active in asking for flexible work, to shift cultural expectations and make it the norm.

Read more at The Age.

If We Want to Help Working Mothers, We Could Start With Paid Paternity Leave – XX Factor

Studies show that statutory maternity leaves and affordable childcare often have unintended consequences for women – such as reduced earnings, or discriminatory hiring practices by employers.

These negative effects should not be understood as undermining the case for such initiatives. Rather, they demonstrate that the assumption remains that childcare and other family responsibilities are the sole duty of women.

Family-friendly policy should be crafted to encourage greater uptake by both men and women, to help change the kinds of attitudes that rewards working men who become fathers and penalises women who become mothers.

Read more at XX Factor.

Lauded for putting your family first? You must be a man – The Globe and Mail

This article notes that while successful men are lauded for stepping back from high-paid jobs to have a better work-life balance, the same is not true for women. It suggests that when women leave work for the same reasons it is understood as reflect in the inability of women to ‘have it all’.

The author notes that women “are told they need to push harder, faster and further to get ahead. When men step down, they are heroes; when women step down, they are piteous failures.”

Read more at The Globe and Mail.

Promoting uptake of parental and paternity leave among fathers in the European Union – Eurofound

This new report from Eurofound notes that the take-up rate of parental and paternity leave among fathers has been increasing across the EU but remains relatively low. This report looks at:

  • Trends in terms of take-up of parental and paternity leave
  • Existing provisions
  • Factors influencing take-up rates.

It also explores initiatives recently implemented by national authorities, governments and social partners to promote the take-up of parental and paternity leave, particularly among fathers.

It finds that while only three EU member states provide no paternal leave, it remains that where it is provided entitlements and benefits vary widely. This means that, in practice, “under the current parental and paternity leave regulations, children born in different countries have different chances of spending some time with their fathers in the first days of their lives”.

The report suggests that to increase take up of paternal leave, certain issues must be address. These include:

  • Wage replacement rates
  • Greater flexibility in terms of sharing and taking leave over time
  • Increased availability of information to potential leave takers and employers
  • Flexible return to work policies.

The report concludes by noting that promotion of equal uptake of leave by both parents will greatly contribute to a more equal participation of women and men in employment.

Read more at Eurofound.

Why U.S. Women Are Leaving Jobs Behind – New York Times

This article notes that while the United States had one of the top employment rates in the world for women, this has now fallen behind many European countries. The percentage of women in the American work force peaked in 1999, at 74% for those between 25 and 54. It has since fallen, to 69%. The article notes that while the economic downturn of recent years has eliminated many jobs, a lack of family-friendly policies also appears to have contributed to the lower rate.

Survey data shows that 61% of non-working women weren’t in employment due to family responsibilities, compared to 37% of non-working men. Of the women who identify as ‘homemakers’, and who have not looked for a job in the last year, nearly three-quarters would consider going back if a job offered flexible hours or allowed them to work from home.

Furthermore, there are different perceptions of non-working for men and women, and women’s experiences are more likely to reported positively than men. Women are more likely to say that not working has improved their romantic relationships and spend more time exercising than they once did. Men, meanwhile, report negative impacts on their romantic relationships and exercise less.

Yet, many women remain interested in working again, assuming the right prevailing conditions. Particularly important is the flexibility to avoid upending their family life. For many US women with children, the decision about whether to work involves weighing a particularly complex set of benefits and drawbacks. The issues, however, are often insurmountable as the United States has a dearth of programs and policies to support women in work, such as subsidized childcare, parental leaves and taxation of individuals instead of families, which are common in Europe.

The article argues that while the extensive benefits and employment protections granted the European workers has had economic impacts on job markets, the US approach of flexible labour markets with few benefits also has it’s costs, also: ” The free market leaves many families, particularly many women, struggling to find a solution that combines work and home life.”

Read more at the New York Times.

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.

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

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

Family-related working schedule flexibility across Europe #6 – Präg & Mills

Using the European Labour Force Survey, this report notes wide variation in working schedule flexibility across Europe – from 10% in Romania, to over 60% in the Netherlands and the UK. They argue that GDP per capita is a major predictor of the availability of work schedule flexibility.

They also analysed which social groups report the availability of flexible working. Women and young people reported less access to working schedule flexibility, while those aged over 60 reported greater access. Those with supervisory responsibility, higher-levels of education or with employment permanent contracts were more likely to report the availability of flexible working that their counterparts.

Präg, Patrick; Mills, Melinda (2014) Family-Related Working Schedule Flexibility Across Europe #6, Prepared for European Commission Directorate Justice and Fundamental Rights

Available at: http://ec.europa.eu/justice/gender-equality/files/documents/140502_gender_equality_workforce_ssr6_en.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