FACT SHEET: White House Unveils New Steps to Strengthen Working Families Across America
Tomorrow, the President will unveil new proposals to strengthen the middle class by giving working families the flexibility to balance their families and jobs and giving all Americans the opportunity to earn sick days. Building on the steps the Administration announced last year during the first-ever White House Summit on Working Families, tomorrow’s announcement includes:
- Calling on Congress, as well as States and cities, to pass legislation [The Healthy Families Act] that would allow millions of working Americans to earn up to seven days of paid sick time per year;
- Proposing more than $2 billion in new funds to encourage states to develop paid family and medical leave programs and announcing that the Department of Labor will use $1 million in existing funds to help States and municipalities conduct feasibility studies; and
- Modernizing the Federal workplace by signing a Presidential Memorandum directing agencies to advance up to six weeks of paid sick leave for parents with a new child and calling on Congress to pass legislation giving federal employees an additional six weeks of paid parental leave.
The challenge of balancing work and family has grown as families have shifted so that today in most families all parents work and all parents contribute to caregiving. Across married and single parent families, all parents are working in more than 60 percent of households with children, up from 40 percent in 1965. And today, more than 60 percent of women with children under the age of 5 participate in the labor force, compared with around 30 percent in the 1970s. Yet the fundamental structure of work has not kept pace with the changing American family, and many families are struggling to balance obligations at home and on the job. In fact, the United States remains the only developed country in the world that does not offer paid maternity leave.
That is why the President is announcing additional efforts to help working families that build on the steps he announced at last June’s White House Summit, including support for states to design paid leave programs and a Presidential Memorandum that established a “right to request” flexible workplace arrangements for Federal workers and directed Federal agencies to expand flexible workplace policies to the maximum possible extent. The White House Council on Economic Advisers also released a report (http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/leave_report_final.pdf) last June on the economic benefits of paid leave. From increasing the minimum wage, to equal pay for women, to workplace flexibility, to child care, to paid leave – President Obama is taking action on issues that impact America’s working families.
White House issues – Family www.whitehouse.gov/issues/family/
- 1/15/15 President Obama delivers remarks on Working Families in a 21st Century Economy