ERIC Number: ED462171
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2001-Oct
The Widening Gap: A New Book on the Struggle To Balance Work and Caregiving. Research-in-Brief.
This research brief presents some main findings from a study of employer-based support systems in the United States to help families meet their caregiving responsibilities, and focuses on the failure of existing policies to support caregiving responsibilities of low-income parents and women. The brief also presents policy alternatives to help working families better address their responsibilities. Data sources include primary and secondary data from the National Longitudinal Study of Youth, the Survey of Midlife in the United States, the Urban Working Families Study, and the National Daily Diaries Study. The brief reports that low-income families are particularly affected by the gap between services provided by government and employers and families' needs. Lower- and middle-income workers spend substantially more time caring for elderly parents than do higher-income families. Employed women are more likely than employed men to provide care for a child, spouse, partner with disability, or elderly relative. The Family and Medical Leave Act covers only about half of U.S. workers and does not cover the common illnesses of young children that cause most parents to miss work. Low-income workers have few or no workforce benefits. Employed mothers are less likely than men to have access to paid leave and flexibility in their hours. Policy recommendations include ensuring preschoolers' care and education, increasing the length of the school day and year, improving public transportation, and adapting work schedules and hours. The brief concludes by noting that developing public policies that cut across social class and help all workers succeed at work and in caring for their families is critical to the welfare of low-income workers and to the advancement of women. (KB)
Descriptors: Adult Children, Caregivers, Child Rearing, Children, Employed Parents, Family Work Relationship, Females, Fringe Benefits, Low Income Groups, Mothers, Parent Child Relationship, Parents, Personnel Policy, Public Policy, Work Environment
Institute for Women's Policy Research, 1400 20th Street, NW, Suite 104, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 202-785-5100; Fax: 202-833-4362; Web site: http://www.iwpr.org.
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Numerical/Quantitative Data; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Institute for Women's Policy Research, Washington, DC.
Note: Based on "The Widening Gap: Why America's Working Families Are in Jeopardy and What Can Be Done about It," by Jody Heymann, see ED 447 946.