The United States lags behind other developed countries in protecting workers in areas such as family leave, and the situation will only become more acute as workers care for their aging baby boomer parents and their own children, says a West Virginia University professor in a recently published book.

Presha Neidermeyer, associate professor in the WVU College of Business and Economics and co-editor ofWork-Life-Family Imbalance: How to Level the Playing Field,has compared the work hours of U.S. workers and their counterparts in the European Union. She found that parents in Europe are ensured at least three months paternity leave, and in the United Kingdom, 39 weeks of paid paternity are guaranteed.

While the law in the United States requiring that a job be held for a specified period of time is certainly better than nothing, in comparison to the benefits offered in the European Union, this benefit is very minimal,Neidermeyer said.

Additionally, she has noted that although statistically men seem to work more than women, when nonpaid work such as caring for elderly family members and children is factored in, women work many more hours than men. This, she says, leads to a work-life imbalance that is damaging to women and society.

Laws should be enactedin order to help individuals in balancing their work-life requirements if one wants to engage more women in the paid work force,she said.

Neidermeyer co-edited the book along with Michele A. Paludi, president of Human Resources Management Solutions and a research professor in the School of Management at the Graduate College in Union University.

The issues of pregnancy discrimination, family laws as applied to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals and employee retention flexibility policies in a small workplace are also explored by the authors.

Contributors to the work include Kelsey Allen-Dicker, Bianca L. Bernstein, Cristine Cioffi, Eros R. DeSouza, Billie Dziech, Traci Graham, Hillary Kasprzak, Julie Manning Magid, Carmen A. Paludi, Nancy Felipe Russo, Melissa Smith, Rebecca Vaccariello and Christa White.

Neidermeyer said the publication is important because the issues it investigates have a wide impact.

This book concentrates on the ever-evolving importance of work to virtually every member of our society given that all will hold a stake in some aspect of the issue of work-life balance,she said.

The book also addresses the impact on children of traditional and nontraditional families, the impact of an aging population on the work force and how a better work-life balance will impact the health of the stakeholders.

Neidermeyer is a member of The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and an active participant in various organizations benefiting charities in Africa. She has led multiple teams of practicing professionals and students interested in using their special skills to Africa to help minimize the impact of the AIDS pandemic. She is writing a book on the impact of the AIDS pandemic on the women of Africa.