Job Quality Indicators » Work-Life Balance

<< Back to list of all indicators

How Work-Life Conflict Affects Families

Feeling overloaded, or that work gets in the way of family life affects the well-being of Canadian families. Employees who experience high levels of role overload or work-to-family conflict are more likely to report a negative spillover from work to family life. Furthermore, the 2001 sample of employees were found to be: less satisfied with their family life; more likely to miss household activities because of work; more likely to decide to postpone or have fewer children because of work demands; and less likely to engage in activities that are commonly associated with positive parenting, as compared to the 1991 sample.

 

Role Overload Has A Negative Effect On Families

Source: Duxbury and Higgins (2001). Work Life Balance in the New Millennium:
Where Are We? Where Do We Need to Go?
 

As the chart shows, a high level of role overload is strongly correlated with a negative spill-over from work to the family. Few (14 percent) of those reporting low levels of overload experience such a spillover, compared with 71 percent of those with high levels of role overload -- a rate five times higher. Similarly, three quarters of those with low role overload say that they are highly satisfied with their family life, in contrast to only 44 percent of those reporting a high level of role overload. More fundamentally, role overload also may influence decisions about children. Three in five employees with high role overload say they have not started a family because of heavy work demands. This rate is six times higher than that reported by employees with low role overload (9 percent). While role overload seems to be strongly associated with the decision of whether or not to have children, it is also strongly associated with the number of children couples decide to have. Indeed, most respondents reporting high role overload indicated that they decided to have fewer children because of heavy work demands, a decision reported by a mere 4 percent of those with low role overload. In short, role overload appears to be strongly associated with the decision to have children and the number of children couples decide to raise.

 

Work-Family Conflict Has A Negative Effect on Families

Source: Duxbury and Higgins (2001). Work Life Balance in the New Millennium:
Where Are We? Where Do We Need to Go?
 

Work-family interference shows a familiar pattern. Work-to-family conflict appears to have its biggest impact on an employee’s ability to spend time with their family. While one in four employees (25 percent) with low work-to-family conflict reported missing family time because of work obligations, over four in five (81 percent) employees with a high level of conflict did so. Similarly, high work-to-family conflict is strongly associated with a negative spillover from work to family life. Work-to-family conflict is also associated with decisions about having children, though the association does not appear to be as strong as the one observed with respect to role overload. Finally, work-to-family conflict appears to be related to child raising practices and could affect positive parenting. Employees reporting lower levels of conflict are more likely to say they engage in such practices as having meals with family or engaging in fun activities with family members.

Additional Charts and Information