Summarizes some of the research on the effects, outcomes, distribution, and characteristics of work-family supports for low-income families, while also outlining existing policies and proposals for expansion.

“This paper explores 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 addresses supports that can be encouraged or required by public policy and/or provided by employers. It focuses primarily on work-linked policies for parents—particularly lower-income parents—to help support the development and wellbeing of their children, with some attention to the implications of policies for employers and the broader public. These policies are generally under the jurisdiction at the federal level of the U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division. Policies linked to child and family wellbeing are also of special interest to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which has federal jurisdiction over many family support programs, and places a particular emphasis on support for vulnerable children and their parents in the early years of life.

The paper briefly summarizes recent research on the effects, outcomes, distribution, and characteristics of work-family supports, and describes existing policies and major proposals for expansion. It is not a comprehensive review; rather it highlights findings with particular relevance for federal policy” (p.v).

“Section I provides an overview of the paper’s purposes and approach. Section II reviews the research on the relationship between work-family policies and child, family, employer, and public wellbeing, with a focus on low-income families. Section III presents the evidence on access to work-family supports, particularly among lower-wage workers. Section IV describes work-family policies at the federal, state, and local levels, and through employer action. Section V summarizes recent proposals to expand work-family supports, and Section VI summarizes the paper’s main findings and proposes next steps for research. The Bibliography provides citations for the research the paper uses and, where possible, web links to the references. The Appendix provides a table with additional information on the federal, state, and local policies the paper cites, as well as selected international policies; it too provides web links to the sources used” (p. vii.).

(Abstractor: Author)