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Survey Finds Firms Lacking in Family-Friendly Support

From Associated Press

Many companies allow workers to slip away for school plays or stay home with a sick child, but corporate America has far to go before it can be called family-friendly, according to a study released Tuesday.

The study, one of the first comprehensive assessments of the availability of corporate work-family programs, said big companies and those with women and minority leaders were far more likely to offer such policies.

The “Business Work-Life Study” by the Families and Work Institute draws attention to the gap between the widespread corporate rhetoric given to work-family concerns and the actual help offered to workers.

Only a few years after the term “work-family” became recognizable to most Americans, many companies offer at least some initiatives to help employees balance their lives:

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* Nearly 90% of the 1,000 companies surveyed by phone let workers take time off to attend school events, and half let them stay home with mildly ill children without using vacation or sick days.

* More than two-thirds of employers allow flextime.

* Yet only 9% of companies offer child care at or near the workplace, 33% offer maternity leave more than 13 weeks long, and 23% offer elder-care resource and referral services.

The survey also found that only 44% of companies hold supervisors accountable for sensitivity to work-family needs.

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Nearly 40% of the human resources representatives surveyed said their company didn’t make a “real and ongoing” effort to tell employees of available work-family programs.

The study focused on companies that employ 100 people or more, and results have a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.


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