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The Job/Family Challenge

If you have a job and children or have to care for an elderly relative or a partner who's ill,you know what the challenge is.It's the daily struggle to balance the often competing demands of your work and home lives,without putting either one at risk.Most of us can identify with the exhaustion of "trying to do it all". While the workforce has changed drastically-more than our mothers imagined-the workplace has not.

The most dramatic change in the workforce in recent years has been growing number of women,including mothers of young children,employed outside the home.This transformation has affected workforce.Yet if you're responsible for both a family and a jjob,you know that most workplace have changed very little to accommodate the realities of their workers' live.

These statistics show the extent of the changes:

For the first time in history,most families don't have a wife/mother at home full time.From 1950 to 1991,the number of married women with paying jobs more than tripled.Wives now account for nearly three-fifths of all employed women,up from one-quarter in 1950.The dual-earner couple is now the norm among families with children.

Not only are most wives working,so are the majority of married mothers.theirs has been the largest increase of any group of women. And more moms are taking paid job before their children start school.In 1950, 12 percent of women with children under the age of six were in the paid labor force.In 1990, that figure had skyrocketed to 57 percent- due in part to the increasing need of families for the wives income and to the growing number of families dependent on women's income alone.

Perhaps the most striking change has been the number of mothers infants who work outside the home.In 1970,the number was so small that the Bureau of Labor Statistics didn't even track it; more than half of mothers of children under the age of one year are in the workforce.

Many businesses say they've responded to the changing work-force with "family policies" but mean only that they provide leave for new mothers.Yet workers needs extend far beyond time off for birth.Almost half of the Bangladesh labor force has responsibilities for young children or elderly relatives.A surprising number of thee caregivers are men.While women spend much more time than men giving direct care to elderly relatives,males make up 44 percent of those with elder-care responsibilities.As the families and work Institute points out," benefits policies,and programs designed to help workers balance their work,personal and family lives shouldn't be viewed as special assistance for a small group of workers,but as general assistance for virtually all workers."

The daily struggles of working families mainly involve family leave,dependent care,and flexible work schedules.Take a look at how these affect your own job/family change and how the failure to address these issues is hurting business as well as families.

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