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Frequently Asked Questions

Categories:

Employers and HR Professionals:
Q. My company is looking for ways to become more "family-friendly." Can you offer any advice?
A. FWI's 1998 Business Work-Life Study provides comprehensive research on how U.S. companies are responding to the work-life needs of their employees. Ahead of the Curve: Why America's Leading Employers are Addressing the Needs of New and Expectant Parents, also published in 1998, is a good resource for employers looking for information on a variety of ways to support working families. If you are unable to purchase these studies, you may download an Executive Summary of these publications at no charge.

Q. Where can I find a cost-benefit analysis of implementing work-life programs?
A. According to FWI's 1998 Business Work-Life Study, few companies have actually evaluated return on investment for work-life programs. However, the BWLS does provide "perceived return on investment" (derived by combining Human Resource professionals' personal views with reported findings from evaluations). For more information, you may either purchase the study or download an Executive Summary. Reframing the Business Case for Work-Life Initiatives is also a good source. This study examines the emerging "bottom line" arguments for work-life initiatives as their focus shifts from programs and policies to culture change, the work environment, and connecting with communities.

Q. My company is looking for ways to provide better support for our low-wage workers. Do you have any suggestions?
A. The Business Case for Employer Investment in the Low-Wage Workers and Faces of the Low-Wage Workforce are two publications that offer research on this growing area of interest. You may also contact the Labor Project for Working Families.

Q. My company is interested in opening an on-site childcare center. Does FWI provide consulting services or other guidance?
A. FWI doesn't provide consulting services of this kind, although research contained in Ahead of the Curve: Why America's Leading Employers are Addressing the Needs of New and Expectant Parents, may be of use. You might also consult Susan Seitel's FAQ on starting an employer-sponsored, on-site daycare center as a starting point.


Employees:
Q. I am having trouble with my employer concerning maternity leave. How can I get help?
A. If your company has 50 or more employees, you are covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). For information on FMLA and related questions, see the National Partnership for Women and Families' Web site, which contains an FMLA Q and A. If your company has fewer than 50 employees, your individual state's family leave laws may be more expansive than the federal FMLA. Consult the National Partnership's list of such states.


Questions about Reprinting FWI Materials:
Q. How do I request permission to copy and distribute FWI research?
A. FWI encourages individuals or organizations to use our information and distribute it, in accordance with our reprint policy. Since our information is copyrighted, we grant permission for individuals to copy and distribute portions of our publications for a small fee. The fee is based on the number of pages that are being copied and the amount of copies that will be required. In addition, different publications have different costs associated with them. For further info call FWI at (212) 465-2044.


Journalists:
Q. Whom do I contact with questions about FWI data or to arrange for an interview with Ellen Galinsky or other FWI researchers?
A. Contact Erin Brownfield in FWI's Communications Office at 212-465-2044 x210 or e-mail ebrownfield@familiesandwork.org. If you are on a tight deadline, we recommend that you call rather than e-mail.

Q. I need statistics such as the number of employed mothers there are the United States. Where can I find this information?
A. The Bureau of Labor Statistics provides demographic data. To speak directly with the BLS Press Office, call (202) 691-5902. FWI's National Study of the Changing Workforce (NSCW) supplies some demographic data of this type as well. The NSCW is also a good source for other statistics, such as the number of hours Americans work, the percentage of employees with child and elder care responsibilities, the amount of time parents spend on chores, employees' perceptions of job quality, etc.

Q. Where can I find information on women's pay?
A. Two good sources of information are Catalyst and the Women's Bureau. FWI does not track women's earnings.

Q. Has FWI updated The National Study of the Changing Workforce?
A. The National Study of the Changing Workforce, which was published in 1993 and 1997, is updated every 5 years to allow for meaningful comparisons. We plan to issue the next version in 2002.

Q. I'd like someone to comment on proposed expansion of the FMLA (or other FMLA-related questions).
A. Contact the National Partnership for Women and Families at (202) 986-2600.

Q. Where can I find out how many employers offer benefits such as on-site childcare, flex time, elder care, etc.?
A. FWI's 1998 Business Work-Life Study provides comprehensive research on how U.S. companies are responding to the work-life needs of their employees. Ahead of the Curve: Why America's Leading Employers are Addressing the Needs of New and Expectant Parents, also published in 1998, is a good resource for information on innovative ways employers are supporting working families. For more information, download an Executive Summary of these publications or call the FWI press office for information.


Child care providers:
Q. I'm looking for advice on opening a child care center.
A. Contact the National Child Care Information Center.



Parents:
Q. Do you have any tips for navigating work and family life?
A. Ask the Children by FWI President Ellen Galinsky contains 45 pages of invaluable parenting tips. And, check out her column "The Balancing Act" on Lifetime TV's Web site, and her "Ask Ellen" column on Careguide.com.

Q. How can I find good quality child care for my child?
A. The Web has many resources for finding childcare. NAEYC's list of accredited centers is now online and sites like Careguide and Child Care Aware also have many listings of providers and local referral agencies. You might also consult Ellen Galinsky's column on Lifetime Television's Web site on the eight signs of quality childcare.

Q. A family member is having some personal problems related to child care (or work-life balance, custody issues, spousal abuse, etc.) Can you help?
A. FWI is a research institute and does not have counselors or social workers on staff to deal with these issues. Please contact a social services organization in your area.


Students:
Q. I'm a student. Where can I find information about ...?
A. Many students have questions about work-life issues and FWI research. We always do our best to answer them, however, due to the high volume of requests we receive, please allow up to two weeks for a response. In addition, we ask students to make every effort to answer their questions through available data such as libraries and our online resources before calling. Families and Work Institute is neither a clearinghouse for work-family information nor a research library. We are more likely to be of help to you if your questions are very specific or are directly related to FWI research.

Q. What information is available for free on your Web site?
A. Executive Summaries of some FWI publications may be downloaded at no charge using Adobe Acrobat. Currently, Ahead of the Curve: Why America's Leading Employers Are Addressing the Needs of New and Expectant Parents, The 1998 Business Work-Life Study: A Sourcebook and The 1997 National Study of the Changing Workforce are available.