President Obama wrote a personal blog post on the Huffington Post Monday outlining a series of policy initiatives he said will improve the lives of working families.
The post, entitled “Family-Friendly Workplace Policies Are Not Frills-They’re Basic Needs,” came the same day the Obama administration held the first White House Summit on Working Families. The event focused on restructuring the American workplace to be more conducive towards family life.
In his article, Obama argues for the following initiatives:
- Flexible work hours. Obama said studies have proven the ability to take off hours for family commitments promotes productivity in the workplace. Thus, he will sign a Presidential Memorandum Monday “directing every agency in the federal government to expand access to flexible work schedules, and giving employees the right to request them.”
- Paid family leave. In his blog post, Obama noted the United States is the only developed country in the world without paid maternity leave. He described this as “inhumane” and called on Congress to pass the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which will expand rights of pregnant women, including allocating additional maternity leave.
- Childcare. Obama directed the Secretary of Labour to “invest $US25 million in helping people who want to enroll in job-training programs, but don’t have access to childcare to do it.”
- A raised minimum wage. Obama has been pushing for some time to raise the national minimum wage to $US10.10. In his blog post, he argued “nearly 28 million Americans” would benefit from this change.
Obama said these legislative changes are necessary because “we’re leaving too many people on the sidelines who have the desire and the capacity to work, but are held back by one obstacle or another.” He added “the key to staying competitive in the global economy” is “removing these obstacles.” Obama also argued these changes are not perks and said they, “shouldn’t be bonuses — they should be the bottom line.”
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