Work-Family Integration, Self-employment and Work Schedules


  • Donna Lero (University of Guelph), J. Richardson, Karen Korabik (University of Guelph)

Description of Project:

This extensive review of the academic, policy and business research and literature was originally commissioned by Federal and Provincial/Territorial Ministers of Labour. It provides an extensive summary of the research on the costs and benefits (ROI) of a variety of work-life balance policies and practices intended to reduce negative employee outcomes, such as absenteeism, low organizational commitment and job satisfaction, increased stress and work-family conflict, and poorer physical and mental health. Such outcomes typically result in lower productivity and in recruitment and retention challenges for employers, as well as higher benefit costs and reduced customer/client satisfaction. The review is intended to be relevant to workplaces in the public, private and non-profit sectors and applies to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) as well as larger organizations.

Executive Summary

Over the last 25 years, the challenges and complexity of combining paid employment and personal/family responsibilities has taken center stage as an area of interdisciplinary research. The prominence of this topic reflects its significance as a critical business issue, a public policy concern, and a matter of vital importance to employers, individuals and families. Current thinking about work-life balance practices in organizations demonstrates a paradigm shift that recognizes and respects the challenges of combining paid work and family care, but also recognizes the value many Canadians place on a variety of non-work roles, including involvements in educational, cultural, recreational and volunteer activities that provide personal meaning and help build social cohesion. On their part, businesses and HR professionals have also shifted with many aligning work-family/work-life balance practices with a broader, more strategic focus on fostering employee engagement, i.e., motivating, recruiting and retaining employees in a highly competitive environment. Flexible work arrangements, telecommuting, and a variety of leave, family support and wellness programs are more often integrated and aligned with business objectives. Consequently, there is strong interest in evaluating the impacts of these practices and assessing their relative return on investment (ROI). 

Read more about this study:

Lero, D. S.; J. Richardson; K. Korabik (2009). Cost-benefit review of work-life balance practices. Canadian Association of Administrators of Labour Legislation.


Please note, due to copyright you may not be able to access the report in full. If this occurs, please contact us and we will do our best to provide you with a copy.