WorkLife Law has been a thought leader on work-family issues for over a decade. Its founding director has been described as having “something approaching rock-star status” in the field by the New York Times
WorkLife Law’s contributions include:
- Best practices for the legal profession. WorkLife Law has long been a leader in developing and disseminating best practices to improve work-life balance in the legal profession.
- Best practices for academia. WorkLife Law is an acknowledged leader in gathering and disseminating best practices to improve work-life balance in academia.
- Introducing a legal dimension to work-life balance. For nearly 30 years, work-life advocates relied exclusively on the “business case,” which documents how effective work-life policies can improve employers’ bottom line. WorkLife Law added an important new dimension by inventing the field of work-life law, which links workplace hostility to caregivers with gender discrimination.
- Adding hourly workers to the mix. Our ground-breaking studies documented work-family conflict among hourly workers and reconceptualized “workplace flexibility” — long focused on professional workers — around the needs and experience of hourly workers.
- Adding men to the mix. In a striking departure from the established wisdom, we pointed out that work-family conflict for women won’t change until gender pressures change on men.
- Changing the way the press covers work-family conflict. WorkLife Law’s influential report, “Opt Out” or Pushed Out?, helped change the way the mainstream press covers work-family conflict, away from stories about how women cheerfully choose to “opt out“ towards stories about how rigid schedules and career tracks make it impossible for women to “have it all.”
The first law school center focused on work-family conflict, WorkLife Law has inspired other organizations, including A Better Balance, and activists in other countries, including Japan, Israel, Hungary, and South Africa.
WorkLife Law has played leadership role in opening up new arenas of research, most recently in documenting the flexibility stigma that links use of work-life balance programs with career detriments.