Use of Workplace Work-Life Benefits by Dual-Earner Couples

Donna L. Spencer, University of Minnesota
Phyllis Moen, Cornell University
Joyce Altobelli, University of Minnesota

U.S. employers are giving increasing attention to the obstacles their employees face in managing work-family demands. Formal "family friendly" policies have been implemented, providing workers with, for example, child care assistance and improved time control and flexibility. Despite the growing popularity of such benefits, and research supporting their positive effects, extant literature documents a gap between employer adoption of such policies and the perceived availability and actual use of them by individual employees. Empirical studies that have explored the use of such benefits have focused on individual employee or organizational factors. Little research has investigated couple patterns of work-life benefit use. We employ a life-course theoretical approach (focusing on linked lives and family adaptive strategies) and analzye data from the Ecology of Careers Panel Study to examine the use strategies related to four work-life benefits among approximately 800 dual-earner, middle-class couples in Upstate New York.

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Presented in Session 75: Balancing Work and Family