Saturday, January 19, 2019: 8:00 AM-9:30 AM
Union Square 22 Tower 3, 4th Floor (Hilton San Francisco)
Cluster: Work and Work-Life Policies and Programs (WWLPP)
Anna Haley, PhD, Rutgers University
Julia Henly, PhD, University of Chicago
American workers, particularly parents of young children, increasingly face time-related challenges between their childcare needs and work demands (Kalleberg, 2009; Jacobs & Gerson, 2004; Lambert, 2008; Lambert, et al, 2012; Presser, 2004). These trends include work hours that have stretched across the day and week, and work time that is increasingly unevenly dispersed across workers and occupations. Some (mostly professionals) are "overworked," some elect "reduced hour" arrangements, and others (disproportionately low-wage hourly workers) are involuntarily underworked. There are emerging workplace initiatives that offer an increase in flexibility that some workers desire. For others, however, the term "flexibility" yields unpredictable and undesired amounts and timing of work hours that require working whenever one's employer dictates. At the same time, parents face options for child care that are often limited in availability, cost and quality and which themselves impose external time constraints. In their study, Iversen and Armstrong (2004, 178) aptly observed that while parents of young children uniformly expressed a preference for "quality developmental environments for their children," they "spend precious hours, lose wages, and risk unemployment to patch together such programs." Thus, at the same time some parents are facing increasingly unpredictable work hours alongside child care options that do not fit with those changes, other parents are better situated to adapt - or else enjoy altogether more amenable employment conditions. Using varied data and methods, this symposium assembles research investigating this harmonization, or competition, between working parents' employment and child care demands, and the role of timing through assessing the interplay of flexibility supports, work schedules, and operating times of child care offerings.
The first paper sets a stage by considering the overarching role of work in framing parents' access to time with children. Using the 2016 National Study of the Changing Workforce, they examine relationships between working parents' access to workplace flexibility supports and their feelings of time inadequacy regarding their children. The next two papers turn to the relationship between aspects of work timing - in the form of nonstandard parental work hours - and parents' utilization of child care arrangements. The second uses 2008 Survey of Income and Program Participation data to examine the net effect of such work schedules on use of multiple child care arrangements and center care. The third, using data from the National Survey of Early Care and Education (NSECE) and detailed measures of parental work schedules, explores the extent to which nonstandard schedules explain income-based gaps in whether parents' participate in center-based early childhood programs. The final paper, drawing on original data from a mixed method study, considers the promise of a new universal pre-K program by examining patterning of parents' use of different center-based child care options, publicly-funded and not, by parents' employment schedule demands and family circumstances.
A discussant will draw insights across the papers to spark conversation among attendees of how social work researchers and practitioners can guide development of initiatives within workplaces and early childhood programs to facilitate worker and family access across employment and family circumstances.
* noted as presenting author