Working conditions affect the degree of parental involvement in their children's education, which markedly affects educational outcomes. Children whose parents are actively involved in their education perform better on reading and math tests, experience more positive emotional and social development, have fewer behavioral problems, and persist longer in school. Children who are at risk educationally, such as low-income students and those with learning disabilities, receive particularly significant benefits from parental involvement. Yet active parental involvement in children's education can occur only when workplace schedules afford working parents the time to be with their children during out-of-school hours as well as the flexibility to meet with teachers or consult with specialists during the workday. Work-related barriers to helping with homework, participating in school events, and other forms of involvement in children's schooling have been reported by 51 percent of parents in Vietnam, 66 percent of parents in Mexico, and 82 percent of parents in Botswana.
Parents play a crucial role in caring for their children's physical and mental health care needs. Parents can contribute to the prevention of disease through immunization, accelerate children's recovery from outpatient procedures and hospitalization, and assist children with chronic conditions by monitoring diet and blood glucose levels and administering medications. However, the extent to which parents can care for their children's health is determined by their working conditions. In the United States, where the availability of paid sick leave is limited, parents who have paid sick days are more than five times as likely to be able to care for their sick children themselves as parents who do not have paid sick leave. Without flexible scheduling or paid leave to care for children's health needs, working families are often forced to forgo crucial disease prevention or experience wage and job loss when they take time off to care for children. As just one example, studies in Haiti, Indonesia, and the United States have found that parents report work schedule conflicts as a significant barrier to getting their children immunized.