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Idea of the Day: Workers Deserve Paid Leave and Workplace Flexibility

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U.S. workers are more productive today than at any time in recorded history. Because of this unparalleled productivity, corporate profits have reached an all-time high. Workers are not seeing the benefits of these gains, however, as real, inflation-adjusted wages have not increased in decades. The only families that have seen income growth since the 1970s are married-couple families where both parents work, and those gains are only possible by adding a second paycheck, because in most cases a single breadwinner can no longer keep an entire family afloat.

So employees today are working harder than ever before and bringing in record profits for their employers without commensurate increases in their own salaries. Perhaps workers are trading higher wages for greater access to benefits that allow them to better balance their work and home lives, especially given the fact that they are working longer hours without the benefit of a full-time, stay-at-home partner? After all, one survey found that 45 percent of workers said that they would accept a lower salary in order to obtain a better work-life balance. Unfortunately this does not appear to be the case, since 15.1 percent of all U.S. workers lack access to a single day of paid vacation or any form of workplace flexibility.

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To speak with our experts on this topic, please contact:

Print: Liz Bartolomeo (poverty, health care)
202.481.8151 or

Print: Tom Caiazza (foreign policy, energy and environment, LGBT issues, gun-violence prevention)
202.481.7141 or

Print: Allison Preiss (economy, education)
202.478.6331 or

Print: Tanya Arditi (immigration, Progress 2050, race issues, demographics, criminal justice, Legal Progress)
202.741.6258 or

Print: Chelsea Kiene (women's issues,, faith)
202.478.5328 or

Print: Beatriz Lopez (Center for American Progress Action Fund)
202.741.6255 or

Spanish-language and ethnic media: Rafael Medina
202.478.5313 or

TV: Rachel Rosen
202.483.2675 or

Radio: Sally Tucker
202.481.8103 or


This is part of a regular column: Idea of the Day

For more from the same column, click here