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Summary

This audiobook narrated by Katherine Fenton explores how new parents in low-wage jobs juggle the demands of work and childcare

Low-wage workers make up the largest group of employed parents in the United States, yet scant attention has been given to their experiences as new mothers and fathers. Work Matters brings the unique stories of these diverse individuals to light. Drawing on years of research and more than fifteen hundred family interviews, Maureen Perry-Jenkins describes how new parents cope with the demands of infant care while holding down low-wage, full-time jobs, and she considers how managing all of these responsibilities have long-term implications for child development. She examines why some parents and children thrive while others struggle, demonstrates how specific job conditions impact parental engagement and child well-being, and discusses common-sense and affordable ways that employers can provide support.

In the United States, federal parental leave policy is unfunded. As a result, many new parents, particularly hourly workers, return to their jobs just weeks after giving birth because they cannot afford not to. Not surprisingly, workplace policies that offer parents flexibility and leave time are crucial. But Perry-Jenkins shows that the time parents spend at work also matters. Their day-to-day experiences on the job, such as relationships with supervisors and coworkers, job autonomy, and time pressures, have long-term consequences for parents’ mental health, the quality of their parenting, and, ultimately, the health of their children. 

An overdue look at an important segment of the parenting population, Work Matters proposes ways to reimagine low-wage work to sustain new families and the development of future generations.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2022 Maureen Perry-Jenkins (P)2022 Princeton University Press

Critic reviews

“The work experiences of new parents affect children's outcomes years later. This important book shows the many ways, both large and small, that employers, supervisors, and policymakers can make it easier for men and women in low-wage jobs to parent successfully.” —Stephanie Coontz, author of The Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap

“This book underscores that there is no separating work from family, and low-income parents are especially at risk. These stories of their resilience in the face of so few institutional supports are nothing less than amazing. Perry-Jenkins’s policy and practice recommendations are spot-on. Work Matters is timely, informative, insightful, and engrossing - a must-read for everyone who cares about working parents and the next generation.” —Phyllis Moen, coauthor of Overload: How Good Jobs Went Bad and What We Can Do about It

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  • Arshin
  • 07-09-22

Good research methodology on work for low-income parents

A must read book for employers and supervisors! Eye opening and excellent insight for changing policy order at the workplace which at the end of the book summarizing it in 4 offers.