WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Obama administration this week is hosting a Forum on Workplace Flexibility at the White House, where the president and first lady will sit down with leaders from business communities large and small, with workers, and with public policy experts to discuss the challenges Americans face in balancing the demands of workplace and family obligations. The forum builds on the administration’s understanding that addressing work-family conflict is a crucial component of its commitment to supporting middle-class families.
Today the Center for American Progress released two memos that advance progressive policy solutions to help alleviate the work-family conflicts that millions of families are facing in this country, and outline the widespread support that an agenda for addressing these conflicts has among the public.
Resolving Work-Life Conflicts
Progressives Have Answers
By Heather Boushey, Joan C. Williams | March 29, 2010
Download the full memo (pdf)
In one of his first acts in office, President Barack Obama appointed Vice President Joe Biden to chair the Middle Class Task Force to ensure that the “economic challenges facing [t]he American middle class always remain front and center in the work of the administration.” More than a year later, in these tough economic times, focusing on "the importance of creating workplace practices that allow America’s working men and women to meet the demands of their jobs without sacrificing the needs of their families" (as stated by the White House) could not be more important.
Acknowledging and addressing work-family conflict is an effective way for progressives to address the economic anxieties of the broad middle class in America pragmatically and effectively. These work-life conflicts often leave Americans in the impossible position of having to choose between supporting their families or caring for them. Employers, too, face difficult decisions—ones that based on today’s workplace rules are often counterproductive to their companies’ bottom lines and to stronger jobs growth.
It’s Time for Policies to Match Modern Family Needs
New Polling Data Shows Widespread Support for an Agenda to Address Work-Family Conflict
By Heather Boushey | March 29, 2010
Download the full memo (pdf)
Men and women have a strong appetite for businesses and the government to implement policies to address work-family conflict. And it’s not only progressives who want change. These issues have strong resonance across a wide range of demographic groups. People agree across ideology, class, and family type that government and businesses need to do more to adapt to the new ways we work and live. This includes increased access to workplace flexibility, more funding for child care, and paid family and medical leave…
This new poll data shows that policies to address work-family conflict carry out the message quite well and resonate with the American public. Families have for too long struggled to make their jobs fit their family life as the institutions around them continue to assume that the typical worker has a stay-at-home spouse and that the typical caregiver has a full-time breadwinner for income support. The public is hungry for change.