On the one hand, there are laws that allow workers to take family leave in an emergency, but how do co-workers feel about having to pick up the slack? And if they express resentment, how does it affect a decision to take the leave?
Santa Clara University professor Justin Boren working with Shannon Johnson at James Madison University found that workers who overhear resentment messages feel reluctant to take time off. The situation is worsened if the messages are embedded within company culture, he said.
"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," said Boren, in a statement, referencing a national survey of 474 workers.
"Many workers feel that their inability to balance both work and life make them less-than-ideal employees, thereby exacerbating the effects of burnout," said Boren. "This can lead to an unhealthy cycle of continuing work when the individual worker should make use of the leave policies they are entitled to."