Family-Friendly Workplace


In the Ivory Tower, Men only
For men, having children is a career advantage.  For women, it's a career killer.

In 2000, I greeted the first entering graduate-student class at Berkeley where the women outnumbered the men. I was the first female dean of the graduate division. As a ’70s feminist I cautiously thought, “Is the revolution over? Have we won?” Hardly. That afternoon I looked around the room at my first dean’s meeting and all I saw were grey haired men. The next week at the first general faculty meeting of the semester I noted that women were still only about a quarter of the faculty, and most were junior.

To download brief by Mary Ann Mason, click here.

Reforming Family and Medical Leave Laws: Promoting Health and Economic Security for California’s Working Families

Promoting policies that help workers keep good jobs and support economic recovery is a priority for all Californians. This Berkeley CHEFS policy brief, “ Reforming Family and Medical Leave Laws: Promoting  Health and Economic Security for California’s Working Families,” written in collaboration with the Labor Project for Working Families, presents the key problems and gaps in California's leave laws, and proposes reforms that are essential to making leave accessible and affordable for working families.  Few can afford to lose pay or risk job loss when illness strikes or a family member needs care.  Even in this tough economic climate, the movement for family-friendly workplaces is gaining momentum, and family and medical leave laws are a critical component. 

Family Security Insurance: A New Foundation for Economic Security

The Berkeley Center on Health, Economic & Family Security (Berkeley CHEFS) and Georgetown Law’s Workplace Flexibility 2010 released a new report entitled, “Family Security Insurance: A New Foundation for Economic Security.” The report provides a blueprint for establishing and financing a new national insurance program to provide wage replacement for time off for health and care-giving needs.

Based on a substantive review of current data, law, and policy, the report outlines a nearly universal need among working Americans for time off from work to address personal illness, care for a new child, or care for a loved one with a serious illness. It asserts that this need is no longer an issue for individual families or select industries, but a national priority with major social and economic implications.

Family Security Insurance (FSI) would reform the current social insurance system to provide for income replacement when people take time off from work for health and care-giving reasons. The report outlines the benefits that would be provided, who would be eligible, how it would be administered, and how to fund the program.

The recommendations cover income replacement for three important life events: one’s own serious illness or temporary disability that renders a worker temporarily unable to perform his or her job; arrival of a child who needs care and time to bond with parents; and the serious illness of a family member who needs care.

Family Security Insurance would be a national social insurance program not paid for by the government, but by spreading the cost among workers and their employers to create a fair, predictable foundation of support.

Click here to read the report.

Faculty Research

Universal Insurance: Enhancing Economic Security to Promote Opportunity, Jacob Hacker, Brookings, September 2006

A Defense of Paid Family Leave, Gillian Lester, Harvard Journal of Law and Gender, Vol 28, No. 1 (2005)

Let Employees Control Their Paid Time Off Stephen Sugarman, Knight-Ridder, 1999

Unemployment Insurance and Wealth Redistribution, Gillian Lester, UCLA Law Review, Vol. 49, No. 1 (2001)

Universal Risk Insurance, Jacob Hacker, Tobin Project, 2007

How Family Leave Laws Left Out Low-Income Workers, Ann O'Leary, Berkeley Journal of Employment and Labor Law, Vol. 28, No. 1 (2007)

Impact of Leave Laws and Leave Policies on Employer and Worker Behavior, Catherine Albiston (forthcoming)

Patching America's Leaky Pipeline in the Sciences, Mary Ann Mason, Center for American Progress, November 2009.

America Should Compete for Women Scientists, Mary Ann Mason, Science Progress, May 4, 2010

Supporting Workers in Flexible and Secure Jobs Faculty Research

Careers and Contingency Gillian Lester, Stanford Law Review, Vol. 51, No. 1 (Nov., 1998)

Making Government Work for Families:  The federal government's role as employer and contractor in improving family-friendly policies.  In a work-family policy brief by Berkeley CHEFS and the Center for American Progress, Ann O'Leary highlights the growing and changing nature of the federal contractor workforce from a manufacturing workforce to a service oriented workforce  In this report, O'Leary explains that the federal government's current laws and policies requiring federal contractors to provide equity and a standard level of benefits for their employees need to be revised to include family-friendly policies. 

Work/Family Scholarship

Faculty Research

Mothers on the Fast Track: How a New Generation Can Balance Family and Careers,  Mary Ann Mason and Eve Mason Ekman, 2007

Bargaining in the Shadow of Social Institutions,   Catherine Albiston, Law and Society Review, March 2005

Institutional Perspectives on Law Work and Family,   Catherine Albiston, Annual Review of Law and Social Science, 2007

Other Related Publications

Angela Clements, Sexual Orientation, Gender Nonconformity, and Trait-Based Discrimination: Cautionary Tales From Title VII & An Argument for Inclusion, 24 Berk. J. Gender L. Just. 166 (2009)