Families Have Changed.
But family-friendly policies have lagged behind. Many US and employer policies are based on an outdated model: a two-parent household, with one parent who works outside the home for pay. Today, only 68.9 percent of households include two parents1, and only nine percent of all families—single-parent and two-parent—have one parent who cares for children full time.
That means the vast majority of families must work in a system that was created for a bygone era. Here’s what that looks like for working parents and employers across the country.
As parents struggle to balance work and family obligations, employers are losing out.
The struggle is real and includes working parents in North Carolina.
Hourly and low-wage workers are impacted the most.
Hourly workers make up 59% of the workforce10 but are
- less likely to have access to family-friendly benefits
- less likely to be able to afford unpaid leave or child care
- more likely to drop out of the labor force after giving birth.11
Roughly 6 million American parents work in jobs that pay $10.50 or less per hour.
Working families struggle → declining birth rate → smaller future labor force
The US birth rate has dropped to an all-time low, which economists warn will affect long-term economic growth.14
Why are Americans having fewer babies?15
- Wang. Wendy. “The Majority of U.S. Children Still Live in Two-Parent Families.” The Institute for Family Studies. October 4, 2018. https://ifstudies.org/blog/the-majority-of-us-children-still-live-in-two-parent-families. ↵
- Craighill, Peyton and Danielle Paquette. “The surprising number of parents scaling back at work to care for kids.” The Washington Post. August 6, 2015. https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/the-surprising-number-of-moms-and-dads-scaling-back-at-work-to-care-for-their-kids/2015/08/06/c7134c50-3ab7-11e5-b3ac-8a79bc44e5e2_story.html?utm_term=.bd7035932210. ↵
- Ibid. ↵
- Miller, Stephen. “Parents Rank Flextime Ahead of Salary.” August 17, 2016. https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/benefits/pages/parents-rank-flextime-above-salary.aspx. ↵
- Donovan, Sarah A. “Paid Family Leave in the United States.” Congressional Research Service. Updated September 12, 2018. https://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R44835.pdf. ↵
- N.C. Families Care. “Get the Facts on Family Leave Insurance.” http://www.ncfamiliescare.org/familyleave. ↵
- Care.com. “This is how much child care costs in 2018.” July 27, 2018. https://www.care.com/c/stories/2423/how-much-does-child-care-cost/. ↵
- North Carolina Child Care Resource & Referral Center. http://childcarerrnc.org/s.php?subpage=ChallengesforWorkingFamilies. ↵
- Gonzalez, Guadalupe. “Report: Poor Parental Leave Policies Keep Millions out of US Workforce.” Inc. Nov. 14, 2018. https://www.inc.com/guadalupe-gonzalez/federal-reserve-san-francisco-us-parental-leave-policies-more-workers-labor-force.html ↵
- Robaton, Anna. “Most Americans are Hourly Workers.” CBS News. February 17, 2017. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/most-americans-are-hourly-workers/. ↵
- Sharrett, Luke. “Salaried or hourly? The gaps in family-friendly policies begin to close.” Denver Business Journal. January 24, 2018. https://www.bizjournals.com/denver/news/2018/01/24/salaried-or-hourly-the-gaps-in-family-friendly.html. ↵
- National Partnership for Women and Families. “Raising Expectations: A State-by-State Analysis of Laws That Help Working Family Caregivers.” September 2018. http://www.nationalpartnership.org/research-library/work-family/raising-expectations-2018.pdf. ↵
- National Women’s Law Center. “Set up to fail: when low-wage work jeopardizes parents’ and children’s success.” June 2016. https://nwlc-ciw49tixgw5lbab.stackpathdns.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/FINAL-Set-Up-To-Fail-When-Low-Wage-Work-Jeopardizes-Parents%E2%80%99-and-Children%E2%80%99s-Success.pdf ↵
- Brueck, Hilary. “The US birth rate has hit an all-time low, fueling fears of a ‘demographic time bomb’- but women over 40 are a big exception.” Business Insider. May 18, 2018. https://www.businessinsider.com/us-birth-rate-hit-all-time-low-demographic-time-bomb-2018-5. ↵
- Cain Miller, Claire. “Americans are Having Fewer Babies. They Told Us Why.” The New York Times. July 5, 2018. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/05/upshot/americans-are-having-fewer-babies-they-told-us-why.html. ↵