The Use of Family-Friendly Benefits

Ana Ferrer, University of Calgary
Lynda Gagne, University of Victoria

We assess the take-up of employer-provided family-friendly benefits in Canada using data from the Workplace and Employee Survey (1999-2002). We distinguish between availability and actual use of benefits to account for worker selection into firms according to benefit availability. Accounting for take-up of benefits is important in understanding the effect that family-friendly benefits may have in alleviating work-family conflict. In general, we find that the provision of these benefits helps workers relatively little to manage the so called family-work conflict and that benefits are often unavailable to those who need them most. Our findings suggest that the market fails to help employees balance the demands of paid work and family responsibilities.

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Presented in Session 129: Work and Family Issues