On Thursday my office released a new report, “Families and Flexibility: Building the 21st Century Workplace,” detailing the results of a survey my office administered, in partnership with A Better Balance, about how workplace policies affect work-life balance.

The bottom line is that no New Yorker should ever have to choose between holding a job or taking time to care for their loved ones. But most people in this City don’t enjoy flexible hours—and many are afraid to even ask for them. Moreover, many lack access to paid family leave and advance notification of schedules—two building blocks for working families.

Several New Yorkers shared their stories with us—highlighting the challenges faced by so many throughout the five boroughs. You can watch them in this video:

Our survey includes feedback from over 1,100 New Yorkers. Nearly half said they did not have the option of working flexible hours. Of those who lacked a universal FlexTime policy at work, 59 percent were “uncomfortable” or “very uncomfortable” even asking for flexibility. Furthermore, many who did ask reported facing retaliation—including missed promotions, negative reviews, and belittling comments.

Our survey also found that four out of every five respondents support a paid family leave program funded by small employee payroll deductions.

We also showed the difficulties of finding a work-life balance for “shift workers,” whose schedules often change week-to-week. According to our survey, 18 percent receive their schedule only a day in advance. And some respondents reported that they often don’t find out their schedule until the day of—or even during—their shift.

Clearly, we need workplace reforms that give New Yorkers a shot at balancing their work and personal lives. That’s why I’m calling for city, state, and federal legislation which protects the right to request flexible work arrangements, establishes a paid family leave system, and ensures that employees receive their schedules at least 72 hours before their shifts begin.

These policies are good for workers, good for businesses, and good for New York.

photo credit: istockphoto.com