“Focusing on the professional workforce for the Obama administration’s final National Dialogue on Workplace Flexibility event in New York City today is an important reminder that all workers in America struggle to meet the dual demands of work and family because, in too many workplaces, policies have not caught up to the needs of working families. Today’s conversation is a valuable opportunity to discuss this reality, shed light on a culture of inflexibility that is all too common in professional workplaces, and showcase best practices for changing workplace policies and culture.
In general, professional workers have access to better workplace policies like paid sick time and family leave — basic protections that tens of millions of workers in this country do not have — but many still face significant barriers to using these policies. Heavy workloads, long hours, unpredictable schedules and supervisor discretion too often combine with concerns about job insecurity, layoffs and the possibility of retaliation to create environments where even professional workers lack real flexibility. When these workers get sick or emergencies arise, they can struggle with the same tough choices between work and family as workers without these policies. As a nation, we need to do better — creating basic minimum standards that help all workers and their employers address the realities of modern life, while increasing business profits and U.S. global competitiveness.
The National Partnership for Women & Families commends the Obama administration and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Women’s Bureau for hosting this important series and for making workplace flexibility a priority. As the events throughout the country have shown, profitable businesses have made flexibility work for their employees and for their bottom lines. We look forward to the next phase of this effort, and to both government and businesses working together to adopt real-life policy solutions that meet the needs of today’s working families.”