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NEW REPORT: The Three Faces of Work-Family Conflict

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Contact: Madeline Meth
Phone: 202.741.6277
Email: mmeth@americanprogress.org

Download the full report (pdf)

Download the executive summary (pdf)

Today, the Center for American Progress and the Center for WorkLife Law at the UC Hastings College of the Law released a groundbreaking new report, “The Three Faces of Work-Family Conflict,” that analyzes the work-family conflicts that millions of American families face and provides common-sense, progressive recommendations to solve them.

Americans work longer hours than workers in most other developed countries, including Japan, where they have a word, karoshi, for “death by overwork.” The typical American middle-income family put in an average of 11 more hours a week in 2006 than it did in 1979. As a result, work-family conflict is much higher in the United States than elsewhere in the developed world, with fully 90 percent of American mothers and 95 percent of American fathers reporting work-family conflict.

Moreover, Americans work longer hours with fewer government-mandated family support laws than the rest of the developed world, and the support laws that do exist lack characteristics such as paid maternity-leave laws, paid sick days, limits on mandatory overtime, the right to request work-time flexibility without retaliation, and proportional wages for part-time work. All exist elsewhere in the developed world.

The authors of the report, Heather Boushey and Joan C. Williams, identify three key groups—the poor, the professionals, and the working middle—and provide analysis showing that families across this spectrum experience work-family conflict differently and the politics of resolving these work-life conflicts can often be defined by these differences.

Dr. Boushey and Prof. Williams’ report takes a comprehensive look at these differences and offers thoughtful progressive analysis and policy recommendations for all families and for the first time, the “missing” 50 percent of American workers. These recommendations include short-term and extended paid leave and new workplace flexibility rules, as well as high-quality, affordable childcare and freedom from discrimination based on family responsibilities. The report is designed to ensure that policymakers understand the day-to-day challenges faced by the “missing” middle and the political benefits to be gained by attending to them, alongside the poor and the professionals.

Download the full report (pdf)

Download the executive summary (pdf)

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