(Un)deserving of work-life balance? A cross country investigation of people's attitudes towards work-life balance arrangements for parents and childfree employees. By: Filippi, Silvia; Yerkes, Mara; Bal, Michèlle; Hummel, Bryn and de Wit, John. 2024. Community, Work & Family. Vol. 27 Issue 1, p116-134.

Work-life balance (WLB) represents a fundamental part of people’s well-being and is a key policy priority at national and organizational levels in many industrialized countries. Yet a significant gap exists in our understanding of employees’ ability to use WLB arrangements, particularly employees without children. We address this gap by exploring the perceived deservingness of childfree employees to use WLB arrangements in Italy and the Netherlands. Using a 2 × 2 experimental design, we study the perceived deservingness of childfree people to use organisational work-life balance arrangements compared to parents, with a particular focus on gender and country differences. We further investigate the attribution of priority to make use of work-life balance arrangements across these same groups. While we find no significant differences in perceptions of deservingness, the results do show significant differences in who is considered to need priority in using WLB arrangements in the workplace. Respondents attribute greater priority to female employees with children than female employees without children. The attribution of priority for male employees does not differ between parents and childfree employees. This interaction effect was only found in the Italian sample. We discuss the implications of our results for our understanding of work-life balance policy supports.