Contact: Erin Brownfield
Families and Work Institute
Families and Work Institute
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
2005 NATIONAL STUDY OF EMPLOYERS REVEALS CHANGES IN
WORK LIFE ASSISTANCE OFFERED TO AMERICA’S EMPLOYEES
Small Employers Offer More Flexibility; Large Employers Offer More Benefits
NEW YORK , NY – October 13, 2005 – Today’s employees may have access to very different workplace supports depending on whether they work for small or large organizations, according to a new study from Families and Work Institute.
The 2005 National Study of Employers, released today, reveals that small businesses are helping to drive changes in the structure of work, offering employees more opportunities for workplace flexibility, while large organizations are providing more benefits that have direct costs. The 2005 study also finds that small, mid-sized and large employers have mostly maintained or increased the overall work life assistance they provide to employees, with cutbacks primarily requiring employees to pay a larger share of disability, health care or retirement benefit costs.
“We are seeing a workplace in transition, shifting from models that served the needs of the 20 th century to those that serve the needs of the 21 st century—and most of these changes that make work ‘work’ for employers and employees appear to be here to stay,” said Ellen Galinsky, president and co-founder of Families and Work Institute.
According to the study, small employers, defined as organizations with 50 to 99 employees, tend to offer their employees greater flexibility, such as flextime, returning to work gradually after childbirth or adoption, taking time off for education or training to improve skills or phasing into retirement.
“As a company, we work very hard to help employees succeed at work and at home,” said Maria Marcotte, administrative partner and chief operating officer of Brogan & Associates, a Detroit marketing firm. “The key to this is flexibility. It keeps our employees happy and gives us a very low turnover rate.”
Conversely, the study also found that large companies employing more than 1,000 workers tend to offer more direct-cost benefits, including 401(k) retirement plans, on- or near-site or backup child care and Employment Assistance Programs.
“Change has been an important catalyst for our focus on work life,” said Joy Bunson, senior vice president of global human resources development at JPMorgan Chase. “In a world where everything changes all the time—inside and outside the company—our work life programs have been a visible sign that we recognize how important it is for people to work in a place that allows them to have family as a priority. And that's been a stabilizing factor that makes us all that much more attractive as an employer." In addition to its other initiatives, including working to create a culture of flexibility, JP Morgan Chase has established 15 backup child care centers around the country.
Other key findings of the 2005 National Study of Employers are as follows:
1. Supporting employees and their families is NOT the main reason why employers offer initiatives to address the needs of the changing workforce and workplace.
Of the 92% of employers that offered at least eight work life initiatives, including flexible work schedules, family leave and child care,
- nearly half, 47%, reported they provide these initiatives to recruit and retain employees; and,
- 25% reported they provide these initiatives to enhance productivity and commitment.
2. Most work life initiatives offered by employers are being maintained and some expanded, though a few benefits that have direct costs have been cut back.
For example, in comparisons of seven forms of flexibility available to at least some employees between 1998 and 2005,
- in no case was there a statistically significant decrease in flexibility offered; and,
- in two cases, daily flextime and compressed workweeks, flexibility increased.
Increases have also involved longer parenting leaves for new fathers, elder care resource and referral, and providing health insurance coverage for unmarried partners.
3. Small companies lead the way in providing one of the most valued benefits: working flexibly.
Perhaps, quite surprisingly, the 2005 research indicates that
- small employers are significantly more likely to offer flexibility to all or most employees than employers of other sizes; and,
- in no instances are they significantly less likely to offer these options.
4. Cost is seen as the obstacle to providing more work life assistance.
The major obstacle to providing work life programs is cost, cited by 46% of employers. Not surprisingly, the cutbacks over the past seven years mainly involve requiring employees to contribute a larger share of the costs of disability, health care, and retirement benefits. The only other cutback has been in provision of defined-benefits pension plans, dropping from 48% to 41%.
5. A no- or low-cost initiative that is used in organizations of all sizes is flexibility.
The movement toward a more flexible workplace, however, is still in transition,
- 72% of respondents report that supervisors are encouraged to assess employees’ performance by what they accomplish and not just by “face time;” however,
- only slightly less than one in three companies, 31%, report that management rewards those within the organization who support effective flexible work arrangements.
The 2005 National Study of Employers was conducted by Families and Work Institute as a part of the When Work Works project, and is funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Data for this survey were collected by Harris Interactive between September 23, 2004 and April 5, 2005. An executive summary and full report of the study are available at www.whenworkworks.org.
For more information about the 2005 National Study of Employers, please contact Erin Brownfield at 212.465.8421 or email@example.com or Elizabeth Miller at 212.465.2044 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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ABOUT FAMILIES AND WORK INSTITUTE
Families and Work Institute (FWI) is a nonprofit center for research that provides rigorous study findings to inform decision-making on the changing workforce, changing family and changing community. Founded in 1989, FWI's research typically takes on emerging issues before they crest. The Institute offers some of the most comprehensive research on the U.S. workforce available. For more information, visit FWI’s Web site at www.familiesandwork.org .