Building an Economy that Works for Everyone

Changing workforce highlights need for family-friendly workplaces

brief thumbnail

Evaluating Family and Medical Leave Insurance for Washington State

Significant changes in workforce demographics have led to increased need for family-friendly workplace policies that enable workers to better balance the responsibilities of family, health and career. But absent new public standards and programs, private employers have responded slowly.

Paid leave benefits have generally been limited to those workers with the greatest bargaining power, either because of training and skills or representation by a labor union.

The face of the labor force has changed considerably over the past several decades, including a notable increase in the proportion of women in the workforce. Today, women hold nearly half of jobs throughout the U.S.

About 60% of Washington’s women participated in the labor force in 2011 – up from 52% in 1981. The increase is even sharper among mothers. In 1975, just 47% of U.S. moms with children under 18 participated in the labor force. Now, more than two-thirds of mothers with kids at home are employed, and 59% of moms with children under six were working in 2010.

share-of-labor-force-gender

As women and mothers have joined the workforce, families have become increasingly reliant on women’s earnings. In 1975, husbands were the sole breadwinner while wives were stay-at-home moms in 45% of families with children. By 2008, only 21% of families had this arrangement. Now, about four in ten moms are the primary breadwinners for their families.

Single mothers, as sole earners, are more likely than those who are married to hold a job. In Washington, 70% of single mothers were employed in 2010, compared with 62% of married moms.

  • Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

More To Read

June 14, 2024

Join us for EOI’s 2025 Changemakers Dinner!

Celebrate the powerful work of our community and the significant policy strides towards economic justice in Washington

June 14, 2024

The Rising Economic, Social and Political Cost of Anti-LGBTQ Laws

The harm done by anti-LGBTQ laws expands so much further than queer children and teens