10/25/2010 06:11 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

The Top Five Issues Affecting Working Families Today

My job includes searching through my Google Reader and peer reviewed journal alerts for content to add to the website of the Sloan Work and Family Research Network. In doing so, I feel a bit like I'm holding back the floodgates. Research and news sources are inundated with information about the intersection of work and life. One of the perks to aggregating so much information about the work-family interface, not only in the United States but also in other industrialized and developing countries, is the opportunity to observe emerging themes.

In honor of National Work & Family Month, I've compiled a list of the top five most talked about issues affecting working families in the United States and abroad over approximately the past six months. This list is based on trends that I have observed while combing through journal articles, newspapers, blogs, and various RSS feeds that address work-family issues. I have included links to information that I think sums up the issue in a unique or insightful way.

#5. The Boomers are aging! The Boomers are aging! As our population ages, a whole host of work-family issues arise: elder care, phased retirement, talent management, and an aging workforce.

#4. To sue, or not to sue: The costs of discrimination based on sex, gender, and family responsibilities are rising.
Here are some examples of lawsuits filed as well as commentaries on the issue of Family Responsibilities Discrimination (FRD), gender discrimination, and pay equity:

#3. The Motherhood Manifesto revisited: Dads need work-life fit, too.
One way to deal with #4 (the rising costs of discrimination) is to work on #3 (work-life balance for all workers).

#2. How flexible can the middle class be?: The struggles of working families are being discussed in the context of economic security.
Thanks to Joe Biden and his Middle Class Task Force, flexible work schedules took center stage.

#1. It's the economy!: The recession and its effect on working families are number one and probably will be for quite some time.
The recession is supposedly over, but its impact on work-life fit remains.

Do you have articles of interest or topics you think that I missed? What themes do you think will emerge over the next 6 months? Let's keep the discussion rolling!