Work-Life Policies for the Twenty-First Century Economy

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June 2008, Heather Boushey, Layla Moughari, Sarah Sattelmeyer, and Margy Waller

The U.S. economy, workplace, workforce, and labor market have changed radically in the last 50 years, yet our public and private policies have not kept up with these changes. In recent years, policymakers have begun considering new options for allowing workers to meet the often-conflicting demands of work and other life obligations. These proposals include a variety of options for time off from work—both paid and unpaid—and more flexibility in the workplace. In this report, we review the evidence regarding work-life conflicts, the economic case for policy initiatives, and evidence of effectiveness of the policy options. We provide a clear explanation of these policy options and make recommendations for decision-makers.

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