Workplace policies and practices of the countries we studied generally reflect cooperation among government, employer, and employee organizations. Many developed countries have implemented policies and practices that help workers enter and remain in the workforce at different phases of their working lives. These policies and practices, which have included family leave and child care, for example, have been adopted through legislation, negotiated by employee groups, and, at times, independently initiated by private industry groups or individual employers.
U.S. government and businesses, recognizing a growing demand for workplace training and flexibility, also offer benefits and are seeking ways to address these issues to recruit and retain workers. Potentially increasing women's labor force participation by further facilitating a balance of work and family, and improving the skills of low-wage workers throughout their careers, may be important in helping the United States maintain the size and productivity of its labor force in the future, given impending retirements. While other countries have a broader range of workforce benefits and flexibility and training initiatives, little is known about the effects of these strategies. Whether the labor force participation gains and any other positive outcomes from adopting other countries' policies would be realized in the United States is unknown. Moreover, any benefits that might come from any initiatives must be weighed against their associated costs. Nonetheless, investigating particular features of such policies and practices in some of the developed countries may provide useful information as all countries address similar issues.