Work-Life Flexibility Policies: Do Unions Affect Employee Access and Use?
The authors examine the influence of individual and collective voice mechanisms on employee access to and use of six work–life flexibility practices. Their multilevel analyses are based on an original survey of 897 workers nested in departments across eight unionized establishments in the United States. Collective voice measures include the effectiveness of union pay benefits and union schedule support at the individual and union (group) levels. The authors’ analyses indicate that when unions are perceived to effectively support workers’ schedule needs, individual access to flextime, gradual return to work, and a compressed workweek is higher. By contrast, when unions are perceived to effectively negotiate higher wages and benefits and enforce the collective agreement, individual access to flextime and a compressed workweek is lower. Collective voice measures are also significantly related to the use of a number of work–life flexibility practices. These findings suggest that union behavior can have a significant and varied influence on access to and use of work–life flexibility practices.