With the continued entry of mothers into the workforce and a rising share of children living with single parents, many families are experiencing the pressures of finding balance between work and family lives. Unlike other nations with advanced economies, the U.S. has very modest government policies requiring employers to give their workers benefits such as paid family leave for illnesses or childbirth. Given the difficult state of the American economy and the large and growing federal deficit, prospects for federal legislation in the foreseeable future seem doubtful. These conditions suggest that state and local government as well as employers might play an increasingly important role in helping families deal with the demands of work.
On October 5, The Future of Children, a joint project of Princeton University and the Brookings Institution, released the latest volume of its journal. The volume and the accompanying policy brief review the problems encountered by working families and propose policies for both the public and private sectors aimed at reducing work-family pressures. The event began with an overview of the journal and the policy brief by Jane Waldfogel of Columbia University and Ron Haskins of Brookings. Following the overview, Maryella Gockel of Ernst & Young gave a keynote address on how her firm, known as a leader in family policies, deals with work-family issues. A panel of experts responded and discussed what businesses, communities and the federal government can do to assist working families.
After the program, the speakers took questions from the audience.