AAUW believes that creating work environments that help employees balance the responsibilities of work and family is good public policy — good for workers, good for families, and good for business. AAUW's 2009-2011 Public Policy Program supports "greater availability of and access to benefits and policies that promote work-life balance," which are critical for women for "equitable access and advancement in employment."1
Despite the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and a patchwork of state laws and employer-based benefits — many of which AAUW members helped to pass — family and personal sick leave remain elusive to many working Americans. In addition, despite the relative wealth of the United States, family oriented workplace policies in this country lag dramatically behind those in much of the rest of the word, including all high-income countries and many middle- and low-income countries as well.
While American workplace policies have lagged, the past 50 years have seen substantial changes in the composition of the American workforce. Two-thirds (64 percent) of women with children under six are in the labor force.2 Nationwide, 22.9 million families provide care for an adult family member or friend, and nearly 80 percent of those care recipients are over the age of 50.3
AAUW will also work to advance policies that will improve workplaces for employees with family responsibilities of all kinds. Such protections and improvements are critical to breaking through educational and economic barriers for women.
Paid Sick Days Resource Kit
Millions of Americans still do not have the option of taking a sick day to care for family members or themselves without putting their jobs, their healthcare benefits, or their family stability at risk. Download the AAUW Paid Sick Days Resource Kit. This resource kit contains a variety of useful resources to help you take action for paid sick days. We've included information about state and federal legislation, and step-by-step suggestions to help you pursue legislation mandating a minimum number of paid sick days for all workers.
For more information, call 202/785-7793 or e-mail VoterEd@aauw.org.
AAUW Public Policy and Government Relations Department
1 American Association of University Women. (June 2009). 2009-11 AAUW Public Policy Program. Retrieved July 9, 2009, from http://www.aauw.org/act/issue_advocacy/principles_priorities.cfm.
2 Lowell, Vicky. (May 2004). No Time to be Sick: Why Everyone Suffers When Workers Don't Have Paid Sick Leave. Institute for Women's Policy Research. Retrieved October 23, 2008, from http://www.iwpr.org/pdf/B242.pdf.
3 National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP. (April 2004). Executive Summary. Caregiving in the U.S.: Findings From the National Caregiver Survey. Retrieved October 23, 2008, from http://www.caregiving.org/data/04execsumm.pdf.