How Friendly are Family Friendly Policies?

Business Ethics Quarterly 13 (2):177-192 (2003)
Abstract
In the last two decades the composition of the labor force in the United States has changed significantly. Today, most employeesare mothers or fathers of children under eighteen in families where both parents are employed or where the employed parent is a single mother. This represents a reversal of the older family ideal in which a father worked to provide income and a mother performed the domestic work that sustained families. The practices of business and much of the attention of business ethicists have assumed the older ideal. However, the wage work of mothers raises serious concerns about how business should view their parent-employees. Business has responded with family friendly corporate policies. This article analyzes these policies in light of two particular values: The social equality of women and the well-being of families. Finding current policies inadequate to meet these values, this paper calls for renewed ethical attention to the issues of time demands on employees and just wages
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