Sociology Ph.D. Dissertations


Family Time: The Role of Workplace Policies and How Parents Spend their Time

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)



First Advisor

Kei Nomaguchi (Committee Chair)

Second Advisor

Deborah Wooldridge (Other)

Third Advisor

Karen Guzzo (Committee Member)

Fourth Advisor

Wendy Manning (Committee Member)

Fifth Advisor

Monica Longmore (Committee Member)


As awareness that employed parents have trouble integrating work and parenting responsibilities has increased, some employers have begun to introduce workplace policies in place to help employees balance work and family life. These policies include paid leave, flexible work hours, and flexible work locations (namely working from home). Much research has examined how having access to these policies influences employed parents’ work-family stress, but fewer studies have investigated the extent to which such policies can help working parents spend more time with their family. Using data from the 2017-2018 American Time Use Survey (ATUS) Leave and Job Flexibilities Module (LJFM), this dissertation examines the following three sets of questions: (1) Does having access to paid leave influence time spent in childcare among working parents; and does the association vary for mothers and fathers and by age of the youngest child?; (2) How do flexible work arrangements, flextime and flexplace, influence working parents’ childcare time; and does this association vary for mothers and fathers and by union status?; and (3) How do flexible work arrangements affect parental leisure time, and do these arrangements vary for mothers and fathers and by age of the youngest child? Results show that having access to paid leave is positively related to fathers’ childcare time, with differences concentrated on basic care and educational activities with young children and managing children’s lives regardless of child age, but paid leave is not related to mothers’ childcare time regardless of type of activities or child age. Flexible work arrangements are related to childcare time where flextime is related to partnered mothers’ spending more time in childcare, whereas working from home is associated with partnered fathers and single mothers spending more time in childcare. Additionally, working from home is related to fathers’ spending more time in different types of leisure by age of the youngest child. Overall, the findings from this dissertation suggest that workplace policies influence how parents spend their time in childcare and leisure with variations by gender and other demographic characteristics. These findings expand researchers’ and policymakers’ understanding of the benefits of work-family policies for working parents.