Many business leaders are very much aware of the economic benefits associated with an environment which promotes healthy marriages and families. They understand that employees with healthy marriages demonstrate increased efficiency and productivity which leads to greater profitability. Many companies strive to become more profitable through investing in healthy marriages and families through corporate policies, relationship-based programs, and collaborating with organizations such as Wiregrass Hope Group to develop healthy communities.
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How Does Marriage and Families Affect Corporate America?
Effects of Failed Marriages/Relationships:
Divorce can disrupt the productivity of an individual worker for as long as three years (Lavy, 2002).
In the year following divorce, employees lose an average of over 168 hours of work time, equivalent to being fully absent four weeks in one calendar year (Mueller, 2005).
Individuals in failing relationships often have serious health concerns: increased stress and anxiety, increased rates of depression, and increased rates of substance abuse directly impacting companies with higher health care expenditures. Stress-related issues cost Corporate America $300 billion annually (Velasquez-Manott,2005).
Couples in failing relationships are more likely to resort to physical abuse or violence to resolve tensions at home (Gallagher, 2002) and subsequent domestic violence costs Corporate America up to 7.9 million paid workdays of lost productivity annually (Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence, 2006).
Effects of Healthy Marriages:
Happily married men have reduced job-turnover rates, have lower rates of absenteeism, and are generally considered more dependable and motivated (Corporate Resource Council, 2002).
When dual-income couples are happily married, they have a greater level of commitment to their employers (Curtis, 2006).
Couples in successful relationships experience positive health benefits. Immune system functioning is improved for happily married couples. For males, being happily married is the equivalent of being 18 months younger than chronological age; for women this effect is approximately six months younger (Waite & Gallagher, 2000). Employees who are healthier and younger tend to have lower rates of health service utilization and fewer chronic health problems, and this can lead to lessened expenditure on healthcare costs for employers.
Companies that support families through corporate policy are seen as more desirable to work for. In a recent survey, MBA graduates noted that 70% rated work-family balance as more important to them than salary (Chinchilla & Torres, 2006).