The first paper uses unique children's time diary data from a nationally-representative study to examine how mothers' nonstandard work schedules are associated with child cognitive and socioemotional outcomes and whether the amount and quality of time that children spend engaged with their parents explains these associations. Preliminary results show that nonstandard work schedules are associated with more internalizing behavior problems in children as well as with children's engaged time with parents, with key differences by family structure and child age.
The second paper examines how underemployment--involuntarily working part-time due to inability to obtain full-time employment--matters for workers' health, focusing on differences by gender and parental status. Using data from a nationally-representative survey, the study finds that involuntary part-time employment is consistently associated with poorer self-rated health, relative to working full-time or voluntarily working part-time. However, voluntary part-time employment is associated with better heath outcomes compared to full-time employment, particularly among mothers with young children. The associations between involuntary part-time employment and health were partially explained by increased risk for material hardship.
The third paper focuses on the role of workplace climate in mitigating or exacerbating work-family conflict, drawing from in-depth qualitative interviews with parents employed in lower-wage hospital jobs. Findings reveal three impactful aspects of workplace climate: effectiveness of supervision and management, strength and tenor of coworker relationships, and power of voice in the workplace. An unsupportive workplace climate had significant negative effects on parents and their families, including exhaustion, increased stress and work-family conflict, and lack of energy to participate in family activities. By contrast, workers who felt they had effective supervisors and teams reported less stress and work spillover.
These three papers identify employment conditions that can support or undermine family wellbeing. Findings highlight the need for fair scheduling laws that allow workers the right to request scheduling accommodations, as well as recently proposed "part-time workers' bill of rights" laws that guarantee hours and benefits to part-time workers. Findings also underscore the importance of workplace policies and call for further research on workplace interventions that promote a positive climate for working parents.