Principles for Family Supportive Policies


Paid family leave and other family-supportive policies help dignify work and protect family time. Employers and policy-makers should consider the following principles when crafting workplace and public policies.

To learn more, please refer to “Time to Flourish: Protecting Families’ Time for Work and Care” (July 2018) which can be found at


Affirming that family life is foundational. Families are a foundational social institution, deserving of respect, protection and support for their own sake and the health of society. To support flourishing family life, workplaces and public policies should protect and enable crucial family time, not as a matter of charity but because of the foundational role of family. 


Honoring work and all those who work. Policies that are designed to protect and enable family time and rest should reach all kinds of work and workers. Access to family-supportive benefits and protections should apply regardless of wage level or profession and with consideration of the many forms of work: seasonal, contingent, part and full time. 


Providing effective support to families. Workplace and public policies should seek to effectively support families. With respect to family leave, public policy-makers should develop programs that truly enable workers to take leave and take leave for a sufficient time. The health needs of young children and parents, vulnerable persons and caregivers, should inform the length and scope of family leave. 


Addressing systemic barriers to family stability. Christian tradition calls for special attention to those who are poor and disadvantaged including those who lack the economic clout to protect family time. Workplaces and policymakers should consider the compounding barriers that limit many households’ family time. These include historic wage and asset gaps and the fact that many lower-wage jobs provide few to no family-supportive benefits. Policies that ensure higher wage replacement for low-income households help narrow this gap and protect family time for all households. 


Preserving nonprofit, religious and small business organizations’ ability to flourish. Policy-makers should attend to the challenges facing smaller institutions — both in terms of cost and capacity. Public policy should avoid overburdening small employers and provide capacity-building resources where appropriate. 


Honoring the family responsibilities of both men and women. Both men and women are essential to the development of children and care of family. Workplaces and public policies can affirm the family responsibilities of both men and women while offering flexibility in the way that men and women provide family care. Birth mothers, for example, may need intensive time with a new child and time to recover from childbirth; new fathers should receive equal amount of time provided at intervals appropriate to their caregiving role. 


Honoring both marketplace and caregiving work. Some families decide that one parent should stay home or limit their work during seasons of significant caregiving. Policy makers should ensure that parents who choose to remain home do not lose out on critical support given to other households. Workplaces should welcome the gifts of employees returning to the workforce after periods of unpaid family care. 


Stewarding resources well. Policy-makers should steward public resources well, balancing family-supportive programs with consideration of the cost of those programs and a fair distribution of those costs. Employers should consider the cost of family-supportive policies in relation to short-term mission and long-term impact of integrating values and operations.