Work-Family Conflict – Juggling Kids, Aging Parents and a Job You Want to Keep
|October 12, 2011||Posted by M. P. under Children and Family, Federal Government, Management, Policy||
The latest edition of the policy journal The Future of Children (a collaborative project between Princeton University and the Brookings Institution) was formally released last week at an event in Washington, DC. The theme of the Fall 2011 issue is Work and Family, a timely topic what with approximately 70 percent of mothers currently in the workforce and an increasing number of single-parent families in the country. Yet another new demographic trend adding strain to the work-family balance is the large number of aging and elderly parents, grandparents and other relatives who are or will be in need of care as their health declines.
I included a link to the audio of the event at the bottom of this post and encourage interested readers to give it a listen. The presentation concludes with a question and answer segment that expounds on methods to best balance both the needs of businesses and their employees around work-family policy changes such as paid leave (not paid for by the employer) and scheduling flexibility such as “right to request”. An aside – my personal favorite is a comment by a woman who claims that childbirth, based on her experience, only requires a 2-day disability leave.
The journal features 9 submissions on topics ranging from elder care, to an international examination of family leave practices in competitive economies, to the role of the government in work-family conflicts. With the federal government on the sidelines, unable to move forward with any legislation, now may be the time for state-level policy-makers and businesses to take the lead and address the very real issue of work-family conflicts. Some takeaways from the journal’s executive summary include:
- flexibility in the workplace is a win-win as it is associated with higher productivity for employers and better health, job engagement and satisfaction for employees;
- family leave policies are not equitable – they are more often seen in higher-paying professions; and
- there is a need for policies in the workplace that realistically support men and women carrying the responsibility for young child and elder care to reduce work-family conflict at little to no additional cost to the employer.
Work and Family Balance