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STATEMENT: CAP’s Heather Boushey on New BLS Data on Work-Life Balance

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Contact: Katie Peters
Phone: 202.741.6285

Washington, D.C. — Today, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released new data on the use of paid sick days and workplace flexibility. Collected as part of the American Time Use Survey, this is the first time the government has collected these data, which will allow us to better understand how workers cope with conflicts between their job and their family. In response to the new data Center for American Progress Senior Economist Heather Boushey issued the following statement:

Most Americans are working hard to pay their bills and to take care of their families, yet new survey data released today from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that 40 percent of workers—55.2 million people—do not have access to paid leave and these workers are more likely to be less educated, Hispanic or Latino, younger, and earn less than those who do have access. While more than half of all workers have the ability to alter their schedule or location of work to cope with conflicts between work and family, 61 million do not. The danger of losing a job or missing a promotion because of illness, pregnancy, or taking care of loved ones when working at companies focused solely on the bottom line leaves too many moms and dads having to choose between their jobs and their families.

We applaud the Obama administration for seeking to understand the very real challenges facing workers and their families by fielding this new survey. We hope that the focus is now on finding solutions that work for all workers, including those who now have the fewest options to cope with work-family conflict.

To speak with a CAP expert, please contact Katie Peters at or 202.741.6285.


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