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Social Security is the largest source of retirement income for most seniors, helping millions pay for food, housing and other necessities late in life. Fifty-four million Americans1, including 26.1 million adult women who are widowed, retired or face a serious disability, depend on it.2 There is no other guaranteed wage-replacement program, public or private, that offers the same level of economic security — yet lawmakers continue to consider deep cuts and potentially punitive structural changes to the program.
A growing number of employers recognize the benefits of flexible workplace practices. These employers know that setting workplace standards that promote flexibility and allow workers to meet the dual demands of work and family improves employee productivity, loyalty and retention—creating happier, healthier workplaces, and better bottom lines.
Changes in the demographic composition of the U.S. workforce mean that more women and men are actively engaging in both paid work and care work. As of 2010, the percentage of children who had both parents (in married‐couple families), or their only parent, in the labor force reached 72.3%, an increase of 13 percentage points since the mid‐1980s.
Businesses benefit when employees are able to take time away from work to cope with personal and family illnesses. More satisfied and productive workers translate into improved workplace morale, greater worker loyalty and better bottom lines.
Just 11 percent of the workforce has access to paid family leave through their employers, and fewer than 40 percent of workers have access to personal medical leave through an employer’s temporary disability insurance program.
For many women, the path to finding and keeping a job with decent wages and advancement opportunities is strewn with obstacles — from lack of adequate child care, to juggling work and family responsibilities, to dealing with on-the-job discrimination.
A rich and growing literature attests to the benefits that accrue to workers, families, businesses, and the public when workers have access to paid leave to care for a new child. Such benefits include lower likelihood of premature birth, improvements in breastfeeding establishment and duration, and higher likelihood of obtaining well‐baby care.
A minimum paid sick days standard would help to protect millions of working families from falling further into financial crisis during these tough economic times.
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