Considering that the study appears to be largely an exercise in awareness-raising, it was really disheartening to see how little coverage "One Sick Child Away From Being Fired: When 'Opting Out' Isn't an Option" got in the media when it was released in March.
WorkLife Law, an advocacy organization based at UC Hastings Law School, presented the study to show examples of job discrimination that blue-collar and service workers face when they try to juggle family and work responsibilities. The study looks at 99 cases of worker-employer arbitration that involved parental (and grandparental) responsibilities.
There's no indication how representative these cases are of working class experience, but it's probably safe to assume they're the extreme tip of a large iceberg; arbitration results are rarely made public, and by definition, only occur in unionized workplaces, a small fraction of total nonprofessional jobs. And the report details the underlying inflexibility, real and perceived, that nonprofessionals face at work.
Besides rendering the whole "opt-out" media discussion moot for a large section of the parent population, the study's other big finding is that work/balance is not just/even a women's issue at all; when both moms and dads work in inflexible, family-unfriendly situations, their ability to care for their kids is curtailed. Work/family balance turns out to be a blue-collar dad's issue, too/after all.
But my big beef, besides the fact that dads are getting screwed at work, is why I have to learn about these things from a British newspaper? Because there was almost no coverage in the US, except for a March post on Salon Broadsheet, and a Mother's Day op-ed in the Washington Post, which Jeremy at Daddy Dialectic responded to. I think a ball has been dropped here.
"One Sick Child Away From Being Fired: When 'Opting Out' Isn't an Option," [uchastings.edu via observer uk]