"One sick child away from being fired"
The Center for Work Life Law at the University of California Hastings College of the Law recently released a report on the problems families have with conflicts between working and caring for their families. The report, ONE SICK CHILD AWAY FROM BEING FIRED, by Prof. Joan C. Williams begins:
Professional women are not the only Americans whose jobs are in jeopardy because of work/family conflict. This report discusses a study of 99 union arbitrations that provide a unique window into how work and family responsibilities clash in the lives of bus drivers, telephone workers, construction linemen, nurses aides, carpenters,welders, janitors, and others — men as well as women — in working-class jobs.
The media tends to cover work/family conflict as the story of professional mothers “opting out” of fast-track careers. Surveys confirm that working class Americans feel work/family conflict acutely: two-thirds of unionized fathers said they were unhappy with the amount of time they dedicated to their children; half of the mothers agreed. The arbitrations communicate the stories of Americans caught between inflexible jobs, lack of resources, and their commitment to do right by their families.
The Family and Medical Leave Act is supposed to help in situations such as those covered in the report. For more information on the FMLA, go to my Employee Rights Information Center.