Work-Family Supports for Low-Income Families: Key Research Findings and Policy Trends

03/01/2014

The paper addresses four areas of work-family policy with particular relevance for the wellbeing of low-income working parents and their families: (1) unpaid family and medical leave, (2) paid parental or family leave (extended leave), (3) paid sick leave (short-term leave), and (4) workplace flexibility or initiatives to expand employees’ control over work shifts, hours, and other circumstances of their jobs. It provides a scan of recent research and of federal, state, and local policy developments. It notes that considerable research indicates benefits from work-family supports to low-income children and parents, employers of low-wage workers, and the general public. It describes the relative lack of access to supports among lower wage workers, outlines current public and private approaches, describes major potential policy approaches, and proposes useful next steps for research on work-family policies and their implications for low-income families.

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