Lynn WoolseyU.S. Representative
[D] California, United States

Length: 3 minutes, 57 seconds

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Ms. WOOLSEY. I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of House Resolution 1598, which expresses support for designating October as National Work and Family Month.

Over the past 40 years, the family dynamic has changed. Women comprise nearly half of the United States workforce. For most working women, their responsibilities do not cease at the end of the workday but continue on at home as most women serve as their families' primary caregivers. Beyond caring for their own families, working women often take on additional caregiver responsibilities by caring for their parents and/or their spouses' parents.

But it isn't just women who face the challenge of balancing work and family, Mr. Speaker. More than ever before, men have taken on a greater share of family responsibilities in addition to their workplace duties.

With working families taking on extra hours to make ends meet during these tough economic times, the need for a work-life balance is more crucial than ever. Employers who afford their employees with policies that help to balance work and family reap substantial benefits, ranging from improving an employer's bottom line, increasing retention rates, decreasing absenteeism, and improving productivity and morale.

A 2008 report by the Families and Work Institute found that workers who are able to balance work and family [Page: H7710] are more highly engaged in their work and less likely to look for jobs in the next year. They also enjoy better overall health, better mental health, and lower levels of stress.

Finding a good balance between work and family is important to most people. A 2009 survey of students found that two-thirds of respondents cited a healthy work-life balance was an important career goal. In addition, Mr. Speaker, research by the Radcliff Public Policy Center found that women in their 20s, 30s and 40s and men in their 20s and 30s identified the most important job characteristic to be a job schedule that allows them to spend time with their families.

According to research by the Sloan Center on Aging & Work, a majority of workers aged 53 and older attribute their success as employees to job flexibility, which contributes to an overall higher quality of life. Job flexibility often allows parents to be more involved in their children's lives, and parental involvement is associated with higher child achievement in language and mathematics, improved behavior, greater academic persistence, and lower dropout rates.

Families with working parents face many challenges when it comes to balancing family time with working hard to provide for their families, and it is so important that we recognize this every day, because it is such a challenge; but it is equally important to recognize that the substantial benefits accorded and afforded to parents, children and employers when workers have access to policies of support lead to a much healthier work-life balance.

I reserve the balance of my time.