While the term “work/life balance" is truly ubiquitous, a number of big names say that the “life” part deserves renewed focus.

Many workers lean way off-balance, but HR and workplace authorities say smart businesses offer flexibility and options to attract and retain talented people.

"Family leave, child care, workplace flexibility, a decent wage - these are not frills; they are basic needs. They shouldn't be bonuses; they should be part of our bottom line as a society," US President Barack Obama said at a recent Summit on Working Families.

“Small- to medium-size employers have a handle on this because they're competing in the same talent pool with bigger companies, and their ability to retain and attract people is based on flexibility, livable wages, equitable pay and mobility in the company,” said Loren Harris, director of family economic security at the WK Kellogg Foundation, one of the largest philanthropic foundations in the world.

“Employers are looking at how they can attract and retain the best talent. They're seeing the writing on the wall and seeing that these issues are core to their mission.”

But with a huge pool of willing employees, plenty of big companies do not bother being too accommodating.

“There are companies that are on the cutting edge and doing really good work with that,” workplace lawyer Tom Siggle recently told reporters for the AAP.

“And then there's everybody else, your line workers in the fast-food industry and in the lower end of the income chain. There are just some horrendous stories,” he said.

His key advice was for all employers and employees to fully understand their specific anti-discrimination laws and equal pay provisions.

“There are a number of rights that people have, and they're complicated,” Spiggle said.

“It's not like you can just type something into Google and it all makes sense. But at least look. There are some good resources out there now, and people need to better understand their rights.”