Balancing Work and Family Life
Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey is a strong and unwavering advocate of our children and families. She is the author of groundbreaking legislation, the Balancing Act, which makes it possible for parents to improve the balance between their work and family obligations. And she is actively working to improve nutrition for schoolchildren and expand after-school programs for youth.
Many years ago it may have been typical for a family to have one breadwinner and another parent who stayed at home to rear the children. In modern America, however, that is no longer the case. In fact, 75 percent of mothers now work outside the home, and in four out of five two-parent families, both parents have jobs. This means that families are struggling harder than ever to balance their work and home obligations. But the level of legal support lags behind almost every other developed nation in the world. We don't provide adequate child care; we don't provide paid leave when family members are sick or giving birth; and we don't provide adequate flexibility in the workplace.
The Balancing Act contains a sweeping set of legislative changes that will dramatically improve flexibility for working parents. It expands Family and Medical Leave, providing paid leave in some cases; improves access to quality, affordable child care; and widens in-school and after-school programs. These changes also benefit employers -- studies have shown that employees with these benefits are more loyal and stay longer in their jobs.
One key work-family balance issue has already been addressed. Congresswoman Woolsey's bill to provide our military families with up to six months of unpaid family leave to care for a loved one wounded abroad was signed into law in January 2008.