Women's Bureau Hosts Conference on Workplace Flexibility

Monday, February 21, 2011

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Women’s Bureau hosted a conference on best flexibility practices for hourly-wage employees at the Pasadena Convention Center, drawing about 400 attendees. “Challenges and Solutions for Hourly Workers” is part of the Women’s Bureau’s National Dialogue on Workplace Flexibility, a series of events building on the goals of the March 2010 White House Flexibility Forum.

“Flexible workplace polices are good for employees, and they are also good for a company’s bottom line,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. “The Labor Department is committed to helping all Americans balance their work and home responsibilities, and to exploring solutions to challenges faced by both employers and employees. Today’s dialogue is a step forward in matching workplace policies with realities of the 21st century workforce.”

As reported by the president’s Council of Economic Advisers, changes in American society have increased the need for flexibility in the workplace, including a larger number of women entering the labor force, the prevalence of families in which all adults work, increasing elder care responsibilities and the rising importance of continuing education. Hourly workers face the same work-life issues as those faced by professional employees, but not having access to flexible policies can have more devastating effects on their employment status.

“Flexibility is not just a women’s issue, it is a family issue,” said Manzano-Diaz. “Women now serve as the primary or co-breadwinners in two-thirds of American households. When employees are able to balance the needs of both work and home, it not only impacts productivity but strengthens families and communities.”

The Women’s Bureau, established by Congress in 1920, is the only federal agency designated to represent the needs of working women. Today, the bureau’s goal is to empower all working women to achieve economic security by preparing them for well-paying jobs, ensuring fair compensation, promoting workplace flexibility and helping homeless women veterans reintegrate into the workforce.


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