October is National Work and Family Month — designed to raise awareness among employers about the importance of work-life integration. National Work and Family Month encourages employers to reflect on, communicate and celebrate the progress made in creating flexible work environments and then to continue to accomplish even more in this area in the coming year.

Congress recently passed a resolution sponsored by Representatives Carolyn McCarthy and Todd Russell Platts of the Healthy Families and Communities Subcommittee on the Committee on Education and Labor that highlights the importance of flexibility in the workplace:

  • 85% of U.S. wage and salaried workers have immediate, day-to-day family responsibilities outside of their jobs;
  • 47% of wage and salaried workers are parents with children under the age of 18 who live with them at least half-time, according to the 2006 American Community Survey;
  • Job flexibility allows parents to be more involved in their children’s lives, and parental involvement is associated with children’s higher achievement in language and mathematics, improved behavior, greater academic persistence, and lower dropout rates;
  • A lack of job flexibility for working parents negatively affects children’s health in ways that range from children being unable to make needed doctors’ appointments, to children receiving inadequate early care, leading to more severe and prolonged illness, according to the 2000 Urban Working Families study conducted by Jody Heymann; and
  • In 2000, men in their 20s and 30s, and women in their 20s, 30s and 40s, identified the most important job characteristic as including as work schedule that allows them to spend time with their families.

More information and related news on flexible work options, including our recently released study focusing on flexibility and hourly workers, is available on the Corporate Voices for Working Families Web site.

by Ellie Smeallie