This past Monday at the White House Summit on Working Families, President Obama drew on his own experiences as a parent in order to in order to call for paid maternity leave, increased workplace flexibility, and the overall improvement of US workplace policies.
According to the Huffington Post , the US is the only developed country in the world without laws providing paid maternity leave.
A recent US Department of Labor video compares two pregnant women that work full time and have the same dute date.
One is from Germany, and the other is from the US.
The woman from Germany will get 14 weeks of paid maternity leave, but the woman from the US receives no compensation.
Obviously, the Department of Labor is invested – this past Wednesday, it announced that it will be awarding half a million dollars to help three states and the District of Columbia to conduct feasibility studies on new paid leave policies.
Obama made sure to back the new paid leave policies as well when he opened Monday’s Summit, saying , “[All participants in the workplace are bound together by] a recognition that work gives us a sense of place and income…
Family is also the bedrock of our lives, and we don’t want a society where folks are having to make a choice between those two things.” He continued , “Most of our days consist of work, family, and not much else, and those two spheres are constantly interacting with each other,” emphasizing that he, too, has to work hard at maintaining his work and family life.
Allowing more flexible workplace policies that would allow employees to better cope with the demands of parenting and caretaking “are not frills, they are basic needs” that should be “part of our bottom line as a society.” It has not been guaranteed that Congress will act on any of these issues, but Obama stated he planned to model the workplace values therein with actions at the executive level.
According to Forbes , Obama stated, “Today I’m going to sign a presidential memorandum requiring every federal agency to address flexible work schedules and give employees the right to request flexible work schedules…
I want [my daughters] to be able to have families, and I want them to be able to have careers, and I want them to go as far as their dreams will take them.
I want a society that supports that.”