In this symposium, the process of policy implementation is viewed from the perspective of diverse stakeholders: managers in low-wage workplaces, child care providers receiving payment through state agencies, and caseworkers in an experimental nonprofit employment program. The papers examine three factors that shape implementation: the complexity of policy and program provisions, organizational accountability requirements, and organizational supports for compliance. The more complex the policy, the harder it is for stakeholders to understand and comply with it. Policies and their rules of implementation can, in turn, conflict with organizational accountability requirements - such as the labor budgets assigned to business managers that must be reconciled with increases to the minimum wage and new work hour standards. Administrative rules can create barriers to implementation - for example, program requirements for recertifying child care subsidies can make it difficult for providers to receive payment and thus children stable care. Finally, an organization's investment in training and tools to support implementation, such as updating information systems and training workers in collaborative approaches, can also ease or hinder stakeholders' efforts to enact new policies and programs.
Each of the papers in this symposium provides a window into the intersection of these factors in shaping implementation of a particular work-family policy or program. Two papers examine policy implementation by frontline business managers of minimum wage and scheduling legislation, another examines the implementation of an experimental employment program by frontline caseworkers, and the fourth examines implementation of child care subsidies from the perspective of child care providers. The focus of all papers is on the implementation of policies to support low-income workers and families, and all consider how problems in implementation may help sustain social and economic inequality and injustice. A discussant will draw insights across the papers to spark discussion among attendees of how social work researchers and practitioners can improve the fit between policies and programs defined on paper and implemented in practice.