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Work and Family

Work and Family

Although the “traditional” family—a father who works outside the home and financially supports the children and a mother whose work is keeping the house and raising the children—has been disappearing for more than a generation, our workplaces and government policies have not kept pace with America’s new reality.

Most children are growing up in homes with both parents working or with single parents. One-third of workers don’t have access to paid sick leave, and only 42 percent have paid personal leave. What’s the impact on public health when working people can’t afford to take sick days during a flu epidemic? Who takes care of a sick child? Who’s home to fix dinner and help with homework? Who can dedicate time to a sick elderly parent?

The recession and jobless recovery have complicated life further for working families, when having to leave work for a family emergency could lead to long-term unemployment.



Work and Family Toolkit

Collective bargaining provides working people the opportunity to make their workplaces work for working families. Many unions have arrived at innovative agreements that help working people meet their family obligations while ensuring the employer can succeed.

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How Much Does Our Failing Child Care System Cost You?

Kenneth Quinnell

In the United States, our child care system is failing and this has hidden costs for working families. The typical annual cost for child care for a family with two children (an infant and a four-year-old) is nearly $18,000. That averages to about 30% of the typical working family's paycheck. This cost is so high that many can't afford it and leave the workforce altogether, with 75% of mothers and 50% of fathers in a recent poll saying they either left the workforce or switched to a less-demanding job.

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