Elder Care, Work, and Gender: The Work-Family Issue of the 21st Century

91 Pages Posted: 30 Jan 2008

See all articles by Peggie R. Smith

Peggie R. Smith

Washington University in St. Louis - School of Law


Whereas the overwhelming majority of work-family discussions center on the needs of workers with children, this Article highlights the importance of conceptualizing such discussions in a comprehensive fashion that extends beyond child care. Specifically, the Article explores work-family policies from the standpoint of elder care. The timeliness of the topic is vividly illustrated by Census Bureau projections that document the movement of the baby boom generation into the ranks of the elderly. As the population grays, increasing numbers of employees are attempting to balance work with the demands of caring for elderly parents and relatives. Indeed, the aging of the population combined with a growing number of childless couples has led experts to predict that elder care may well surpass child care as the work-family issue of the 21st century. The article explores the extent to which elder care differs from child care, and evaluates the significance of elder care for work-family legal strategies, specifically the Family and Medical Leave Act.

Keywords: Elder Care, FMLA, work-family, child care, elderly, employment

JEL Classification: J12, J13, J18, J24, J58

Suggested Citation

Smith, Peggie R., Elder Care, Work, and Gender: The Work-Family Issue of the 21st Century. Berkley Journal of Employment and Labor Law, Vol. 25, 2004, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1087688

Peggie R. Smith (Contact Author)

Washington University in St. Louis - School of Law ( email )

Campus Box 1120
St. Louis, MO 63130
United States

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