Identifying the Family, Job, and Workplace Characteristics of Employees Who Use Work-Family Benefits

By Secret, Mary | Family Relations, April 2000 | Go to article overview

Identifying the Family, Job, and Workplace Characteristics of Employees Who Use Work-Family Benefits


Secret, Mary, Family Relations


A contextual effects perspective is used to identify family, job, and workplace characteristics associated with the use of work family benefits by 527 employees in 83 businesses. Parents of dependent children are no more likely than other employees to use benefits but particular family problems predict female employee use of paid leave and mental health benefits. Workplace size, sector, and culture are better predictors of employee use than are employee job characteristics.

Key Words.* employee benefits, work and family issues, workplace policies.

The feminization of the workplace and the escalating competition for highly skilled workers in a global economy have prompted employers and policy makers to address the home and workplace challenges confronting today's workforce. Community and public policy interest in family-friendly workplaces continues to mount as discussion about family leave time and day care services moves from the kitchen table to executive office suites and to the House and Senate floor (Ferber & O'Farrell, 1991; Hansen, 1991; Thompson & Williams, 1995). Many employers have invested in an assortment of policies and benefits that support employees in balancing job and family responsibilities. Over the past 50 years, "employers have progressed from providing no benefits, to providing a standard package of benefits for a male-supported family, to providing innovative and flexible benefits to meet differing family needs" (Wiatrowski, 1995, p. 41 ). And, in 1993, the federal government acknowledged work-family benefits as part of the legitimate compensation owed to individuals far workplace labor or service by enacting the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

Despite the recent attention to the family responsive workplace, little is known about actual employee utilization of workfamily benefits. The current study addresses this gap by using a contextual effects perspective to identify the family, job and workplace characteristics associated with employees who use a variety of work-family benefits within a wide range of businesses and organizations. Knowledge about employees who use these benefits can assist family practitioners, employers, and human resource managers in identifying the reach of existing familyoriented workplace policies, the employee groups who need special attention, and the policies and practices that are `user friendly'. The study also provides a framework to address future questions in the work-family policy and research area.

Literature Review

The array of family-oriented workplace policies can be categorized into four major benefit areas: (a) alternative work arrangements, (b) leave time allowances, (c) mental health/wellness programs, and (d) dependent care services (Bureau of National Affairs, 1986; Ferber & O'Farrell, 1991; Galinsky, Friedman, & Hernandez, 1991; Zedeck & Mosier, 1990). Alternative work arrangement policies include the modification of daily start and stop times, compressed work week, part-time work, jobsharing, and tele-commuting, all on a regular basis. Leave time policies and practices range from the federally mandated FMLA, to Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI) plans, to informal arrangements of a few hours or a few days off, with or without pay, available on an ad hoc basis. Mental health and wellness services include Employee Assistance Programs (EAP's), stress management workshops; and seminars on family related issues. Dependent care initiatives can be on-site child care centers, vouchers to subsidize child care costs, pretax credit accounts for child care reimbursement, or information referral services for dependent care facilities and resources.

Family-oriented workplace policies are expected to comprise the fastest growing employee benefits category in the coming decades (Cook; 1987: Judy & D'Amico, 1997). However, the proliferation of such benefits by employers does not automatically assure adequate or full utilization by employees.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Identifying the Family, Job, and Workplace Characteristics of Employees Who Use Work-Family Benefits
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.