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When Family Leave Brings Conflict Between Your Personal Life and Your Professional Life


Family leave can mean many things to many people. Whether it’s the joy of having a new family member in your life, such as the birth of a child, or the sadness of having a sick or ailing family member you need to care for, such as a parent or spouse with cancer, family leave is a very important benefit in any work environment. What happens, though, when it becomes resented by co-workers?

Research by Santa Clara University communication professor Justin Boren, published in the April 2013 issue of the Southern Communication Journal, suggests it can be difficult for employees to take advantage of their family leave benefits. As Boren says of the messages expressed from left-behind coworkers, “I resent my colleagues who make use of work-family policies,” and, “I can’t stand when other people get to use policies for leave, and I don’t.”

He continues, “The stress of trying to balance work life and family life is really exacerbated when colleagues say that you are letting the team down if you take your legal or company-granted benefits.”

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Marissa Brassfield
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