Family-friendly policies in the workplace and their effect on work-life conflicts in Hong Kong

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11 Citations (Scopus)


As in many other big cities, employees in Hong Kong face competing demands from their work and family and are under a tremendous conflict between work and life. Recently, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government has put a lot of effort into promoting family-friendly policies, but the availability and effectiveness of these policies are largely unknown. The social distribution of work-life conflicts across social status and the dimensions of stratification in Hong Kong have already been documented. This paper examines these issues by way of a telephone survey of over 1000 employees in Hong Kong. We argue that certain groups of workers are particularly vulnerable to work-life conflicts, and target interventions must be devised to address their needs. Moreover, we also suggest that a regulatory approach to implementing family-friendly policies must be undertaken once implementation on a voluntary basis has failed, owing to the low availability of family-friendly policies in the Hong Kong workplace. Lastly, we show the effectiveness of three measures – namely flexible work time, a five-day work week and career breaks – in reducing both work-life conflicts and their negative consequences. We argue that more rigorous randomized intervention must be undertaken to provide more conclusive evidence so as to convince employers to implement these policies in their enterprises. Copyright © 2013 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3872-3885
JournalThe International Journal of Human Resource Management
Issue number20
Early online dateMay 2013
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2013



Chou, K. L., & Cheung, K. C. K. (2013). Family-friendly policies in the workplace and their effect on work-life conflicts in Hong Kong. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 24(20), 3872-3885.


  • Effectiveness
  • Family-friendly policies
  • Hong Kong
  • Social status
  • Work-life balance
  • Work-life conflict