Are Some Occupations More Family-Friendly than Others? The Effects of Occupational Contexts on Using Leave and Flexible Work Policies

Youngjoo Cha, Indiana University
Rebecca Grady, Indiana University

While leave and flexible work policies (e.g., flex time, telecommuting) are known to help to reduce work-family conflicts, workers often do not use them. To address this puzzle, we identify conditions that affect individual using these policies, specifically, occupation-specific conditions that influence norms about time use, such as the prevalence of overwork, male-dominance of the occupations, the level of job authority, and the frequency of email use. Using individual-level data from the 2011 American Time Use Survey, matched with occupation-level data, we show that the frequency of email use increases the likelihood of individuals' using leave or flexible work policies, whereas the prevalence of long work hours and the level of job authority increase the likelihood. The findings suggest that these conditions suppress the policy use among workers in the most prestigious positions and may create workplace culture resistant to the new changes introduced to the contemporary workplace.

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Presented in Session 44: Gender, Work, and Family: Policies and Inequalities