Mothers & Others

Are you a mother or other family caregiver who feels that your choice to cut back on work hours has resulted in your not being taken seriously?

You are not alone.

  • During the key years of career advancement, two out of three mothers work less than 40 hours/week year-round. One in four is out of the labor force.

  • Women (who are fewer than half of all workers) constitute over 70% of part-time workers, compared to 44% of full-time workers.

  • Part-time workers earn lower wages, benefits and have fewer opportunities for advancement than full-time workers, even when they have similar backgrounds and work experience. They are also twice as likely to be poor as full-time workers.

  • Fathers seeking to provide family care also face hostile working conditions. Most employers do not expect fathers to take parental leave even if their leave program is formally gender-neutral. If you are or know of a father who was discouraged from taking parental leave, or from asking for a part-time schedule please share your story with us by contacting casestudies@wcl.american.edu.

The Program on WorkLife Law seeks to assist mothers and other family caregivers by providing the following:

Help with transforming your workplace. We develop resources for family caregivers seeking to balance their responsibilities at home and on the job. For example, the Project on Attorney Retention ("PAR") report and its website (www.pardc.org) provides model work/family policies and a "usability test" to help ascertain whether existing policies are usable and effective. The PAR report and website has proved particularly useful to family caregivers seeking to negotiate a part-time schedule. While the PAR materials were specifically designed for attorneys at law firms, much of the information is applicable to developing family friendly policies in other employment settings.

Help in Protecting family caregivers in the workplace. Based on our research, provide technical guidance and support to workers (and their attorneys) who have been discriminated against on the basis of their family caregiving responsibilities. If you feel you have been paid lower wages and benefits or denied advancement opportunities as the result of your family caregiving responsibilities, you should learn about your rights, and try to address the situation with your employer. If that fails, we can provide information on how to protect your rights.