More Time with the Family? Workplace Flexibility Policies and Fathers’ Time with Children


How can workplaces ease the “time squeeze” faced by families struggling to balance paid work and family caregiving responsibilities? According to scholars, employers, and policymakers, workplace flexibility policies are a potential solution that may allow parents to spend more time with children. These policies may be particularly salient for fathers’ involvement in family life, as fathers do not feel they spend enough time with children, and as there is persistent gender inequality in the division of care work. Using the 2017-2018 American Time Use Survey Leave Module, this paper examines the association between flextime (control over start and end times) and flexplace (working from home) policies and different-sex partnered fathers’ time with children. Extending prior research, I distinguish between different types of father-child time and between solo parenting and time co-present with the mother. Flexibility policies are associated with increases in fathers’ family time with children – when the mother is also present. Fathers with frequent flextime access report more family time, yet those with less frequent access report less family time. Fathers who use flexplace report more family time, especially if they frequently work from home. Ultimately, this study complicates understanding of the implications of increasingly popular policies for fathers’ involvement, gender inequality, and family well-being.

Preprint at SocArXiv
Dana Wray
Dana Wray
Ph.D. Candidate

I am a sociologist researching family, work, and social policy.