Although the “traditional” family—a father who works outside the home and financially supports the children and a mother whose work is keeping the house and raising the children—has been disappearing for more than a generation, our workplaces and government policies have not kept pace with America’s new reality.

Most children are growing up in homes with both parents working or with single parents. One-third of workers don’t have access to paid sick leave, and only 42 percent have paid personal leave. What’s the impact on public health when working people can’t afford to take sick days during a flu epidemic? Who takes care of a sick child? Who’s home to fix dinner and help with homework? Who can dedicate time to a sick elderly parent?

The recession and jobless recovery have complicated life further for working families, when having to leave work for a family emergency could lead to long-term unemployment.