There are more than 83 million families in the United States, and 80.1% of them have at least one working family member. Here are some of the ways the Department of Labor supports working families.
Protecting the rights of new and growing families
There were 3.66 million babies born in America in 2021. Childbirth, recovery, adoption, bonding and breastfeeding are essential – and time-consuming – parts of many families’ lives. We make sure those families can take care of those important tasks without worrying about losing their jobs.
We enforce the Fair Labor Standards Act, which gives employees the right to break time and a private space to pump breast milk for their nursing child. Thanks to the PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act, these workplace protections were recently extended to millions of additional workers. We also protect workers employed by federal contractors from pregnancy and childbearing discrimination.
Of course, medical issues don’t disappear with infancy. For the past three decades, we’ve also enforced the Family and Medical Leave Act, which enables eligible workers to take time off to care for their (and their loved ones’) health without worrying that they’ll lose their job.
Sharing resources for working parents
Parenting and working can both be challenging – especially when you’re trying to do both at the same time. Many of our department resources are designed to help working parents balance competing demands.
The National Database of Childcare Prices is the most comprehensive source of county-level childcare prices, which can help parents assess childcare costs in their area.
We also have educational materials to help parents learn about the different types of paid leave that are available where they live.
The pandemic has also created unique stresses for many working families. Anyone with long COVID struggling to do their job the same way as before may qualify for accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Educating and protecting young workers
Working families can also include working kids – and it’s important for parents, teenagers and employers to understand what kind of tasks young workers can do and when they can do them. Our YouthRules! webpage helps parents understand the federal child labor rules in place to keep their kids safe at work.
In addition, we’re working with partners to promote high quality career pathways for young workers through our Youth Employment Works strategy – and we’re helping young people jump-start their careers through programs like Job Corps, YouthBuild and Registered Apprenticeships.
Our Office of Disability Employment Policy also provides resources to help young people with disabilities get and keep rewarding jobs.
Protecting hard-earned employee benefits.
Our Employee Benefits Security Administration makes sure America’s workers and their families receive the benefits promised by their private-sector healthcare plans. That includes key initiatives related to coverage for mental health and substance use disorder benefits, as well as protecting consumers from unexpected medical bills.
The agency also plays an important role in ensuring that workers are on track for a secure and dignified retirement. EBSA is committed to making sure that retirement plans put the financial interests of workers, retirees, and their beneficiaries first. Contact EBSA if you have questions about your family’s retirement, health or other workplace-based benefits.
Promoting the resilience of families worldwide
Our Bureau of International Labor Affairs helps ensure that parents and caregivers around the globe have decent work, wages, benefits and a voice in the workplace, so that families are more resilient and less vulnerable to labor exploitation.