Journal Issue: Caring for Infants and Toddlers Volume 11 Number 1 Spring/Summer 2001
Employers play a significant role in helping families care for their infants and toddlers through a variety of work-based policies, practices, and programs. Most employers have long provided basic benefits, such as health insurance and maternity benefits. More recent initiatives by a small but growing number of employers address parents' needs for time off and scheduling flexibility, assistance in finding or paying for child care, or access to quality services on site. Employers provide this support through internal human resource policies, philanthropic contributions, and volunteer efforts that expand or improve children's programs in the communities in which they do business.
Despite enthusiasm for these family-friendly policies and programs on the part of employees and family advocates, the extent of employer support is limited, and access by working parents is not at all equal. Support varies by the region of the country, the size of the company, and whether the employee works full time or part time. Lower-income employees who most need employer supports are the least likely to enjoy family-friendly employment.