Work-family conflicts and levels of pay

How satisfied an employee is with his or her level of pay often has an influence on work-family conflicts, according to new research to be published in the Journal of Organizational Behaviour. The study found that those who are pleased with their income are less likely to let work matters lead to disputes at home.

Amit Kramer of the University of Illinois, Devesheesh Bhave of Concordia University and Theresa Glomb from the University of Minnesota led the study and noted a person's actual earnings are as important as satisfaction with pay when it comes to happiness.

The authors explained that individuals shift their reference points when they reach a level of pay they deem sufficient, changing it from what their wages allow them to do to matters such as the earnings of their peers.

Professor Kramer said that most businesses believe actual pay is the primary incentive for most employees, but added: "For others the social aspects of pay and the things they perceive to be sacrificing for pay are stronger or act as additional incentives and disincentives."

Professor Gail Kinman, a Chartered Psychologist from the University of Bedfordshire and co-chair of our Working Group for Work-life Balance, comments:

"The findings of this study provide further insight into the individual differences that exacerbate or alleviate the negative impact of work demands on the home domain.

"Previous research suggests that employees are more likely to tolerate intrusion into their family lives if they feel that the efforts they put into their work are balanced by the rewards that they receive - including pay.

"This study implies that employees who are more satisfied with their pay, and consider themselves to be compensated for any personal sacrifice they make in relation to their family life and leisure,  perceive less conflict between their work and home lives. Their family and friends, however, may feel somewhat differently!"