Work and Family Policies Place Strain on Women (4th in Series)
Last Friday, Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Chair of the Congressional Joint Economic Committee (JEC) released Invest in Women, Invest in America: A Comprehensive Review of Women in the US Economy, a study on women's key role in the US economy and the outmoded framework for social support that places an increased burden on women struggling to manage work and family demands.
The study revealed that more than 50 percent of workers believed they lacked flexible work arrangements, which would enable them to balance work and family. As of January 2011, the US will be the only nation that is a member Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) without paid parental leave. Under the Family and Medical Leave Act in the US, mothers are only permitted 12 weeks of unpaid leave.
Furthermore, thirty-seven percent of women who work in organizations with 15 or more employees are not allowed paid sick leave. Without national paid sick leave policy to care for themselves or their ill children, many women must report to work sick and or send their children to school. As a result of the lack of a paid sick policy, the economy suffers due to the decreased productivity of workers, or "presenteeism." Many working women also struggle to afford child care, which is approximately 49 percent of the yearly income of a two-parent family living at the poverty level ($18,310 per year).
Media Resources: Feminist Daily Newswire12/9/10; National Partnership for Women and Families Fact Sheet 12/22/10