WASHINGTON, DC— Today, Senator Edward M. Kennedy and Representative Carolyn
Maloney introduced the Working Family Flexibility Act, which will give working
Americans the right to request flexible work options in order to balance the demands of
their jobs and home life. Senators Dodd, Clinton, Obama, and Congressman George
Miller are co-sponsoring this bill.
This legislation will allow employers and employees to engage in constructive dialogue
over modifying where and when employees work so they can find the best solutions to
the work-life challenges they face.
Attached are three letters of endorsement for this legislation from the Leadership
Conference on Civil Rights, the National Partnership for Women & Families, and the
Center for Law and Social Policy.
Senator Kennedy said, “Our working families deserve a 21st century answer for these
21st century job challenges. Greater flexibility is an essential part of the response. More
than 80% of workers would like more flexibility in their jobs. Almost half of them,
however, worry that asking for such flexibility will jeopardize their careers. The
Working Families Flexibility Act we’re introducing today will give employees the ability
to ask for flexible arrangements without fear.”
“This bill would be a big step toward helping employees create a more flexible work
schedule and strike a better work-family balance. We need to recognize that most
American families do not have the luxury of having a stay-at-home parent. With both
parents working, and millions of single parents working, we need workplaces that can
help people be both good employees and good parents. Countries that have already
introduced balanced work-family policies find they are a win-win - they help create
stable families, a more productive workforce, and positive economic outcomes,” said
“This legislation marks the beginning of an important conversation about the needs of
American workers as they try to juggle the demands of their job with the needs of their
families,” said Senator Dodd. “I am pleased to join Senator Kennedy in introducing a bill
that will help make this juggling act a little easier. Flexibility meets the needs of
employees and employers alike and is an essential element of any successful work
"Between trying to make ends meet and carving out time to care for their young children
and aging relatives, parents across America are often stretched thin and need flexibility at
work," Senator Clinton said," I'm pleased to join Senator Kennedy in introducing this
important piece of legislation to support our nation's working families."
"We've heard a lot of talk about family values but this important legislation would
actually help families with the increasingly challenging job of earning a living and raising
kids or caring for an ill relative," Senator Obama said. "The demands of the global
economy mean that Americans are working harder and harder. If we're going to have
strong families, we need to make it easier for Americans to work more flexible hours."
“American workers shouldn’t have to choose between their financial security and the
important needs of their family. Family-friendly policies work for both workers and their
employers by increasing recruitment and retention rates, decreasing absenteeism, and
improving productivity,” said Congressman Miller.
SUMMARY OF WORKING FAMILIES FLEXIBILITY ACT
The Working Families Flexibility Act gives employees the right to request flexible work
options. This legislation will ensure that working Americans can ask their employer for
modified schedules so they can balance the demands of their jobs and their home life.
The legislation is patterned on similar laws in Europe that have been implemented with
great success. Under this legislation:
An employee may request to modify his or her hours, schedule, or work location.
Employees and employers will engage in an interactive process to discuss the
employee’s needs and how to address them with no or minimal disruption to the
Employers who deny a request must explain the grounds for the denial.
Employees who make requests are protected from retaliation.
Small businesses are exempt from the law.
The Department of Labor will develop regulations to smoothly administer the
process, while ensuring the protection of employees’ legal rights.