On June 23, at The White House Summit on Working Families, politicians and corporate professionals came together to discuss work-life balance and work flexibility in America’s families.
There, our nations most powerful individuals, including President Obama, First Lady Michelle and Vice President Joe Biden, addressed timely issues affecting U.S. working families.
According to The Work-Life Balance And The Economics Of Workplace Flexibility report, women comprise nearly one-half of the labor force, and in more than 60 percent of households with children, all adults are working.
Obama informed the audience that the United States is the “only one developed country in the world that does not offer paid maternity leave.” He encouraged employers to accommodate pregnant workers, to increase safety and efficiency.
While a heap of the summit’s issues pertained to women, Obama assured the crowd it was not all about them. “This is about you too, men... Anything that makes life harder for women, makes life harder for families, and makes life harder for children,” Obama noted.
President Obama spoke strongly about paid family leave and affordable childcare, saying the two are not “frills,” but they are “basics needs.”
Vice President Biden assured the audience that he, too, recognizes the hardships of work-life balance. He shared a heartfelt story of his 5-year widow period, after the death of his first wife and daughter, and through it all “had to find a way to be there for my boys.”
Center for American Progress President Neera Tanden said having an employer who accommodates your schedule shouldn’t feel like winning the “boss lottery.” She hopes companies become more sympathetic in times when an employee has to miss a meeting for a child’s graduation or birthday.
The First Lady called the summit a new movement, and encouraged workers to not feel hopeless if their employers are slow to jump on board with work-place flexibility.