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Part-time work and family-friendly practices in Canadian workplaces

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Comfort, Derrick; Johnson, Karen and Wallace, David
government document
Publication Date: 
18 Jul 2003

Excerpts from executive summary: In the "new economy", employers - and their counterparts in government - are realizing they must create work environments that enable workers to take part in skills development as well as attract and retain skilled workers who have family responsibilities. This report provides an overview of the availability of part-time work and other family-friendly practices in Canadian workplaces, and related career development and productivity data. This report examines two human resource practices with the potential to facilitate the harmonization of work and family: part-time work and the provision of "family-friendly" work arrangements, such as flextime, telework, childcare and eldercare services. Part-time work, by definition, allows employees to reduce the time spent in paid work, thereby freeing time to devote to family and other personal pursuits. Flexible work arrangements, such as telework and flextime, allow employees to reorganize work time or place so as to better suit their personal needs. The provision of services, such as childcare and eldercare, can reduce stresses and everyday distractions by helping employees with caregiving responsibilities find and keep quality care arrangements. This report, an overview of one year's data, provides an indication of the distribution of part-time work and flexible work arrangements in Canadian workplaces and a description of the career development and productivity measures associated with some of these practices. Outcomes over time have not been observed, nor have we controlled for the influence of other factors. Only with the benefit of longitudinal data and multivariate methods will we be able to make more conclusive statements about the incremental effects of part-time work and family-supportive practices on training outcomes, employee behaviours and attitudes, and establishment performance.