On June 23, at the Omni Hotel in Washington, D.C., the White House Council on Women and Girls, the Department of Labor, and the Center for American Progress held a summit for America’s working families, as the Obama administration continues its push to bring U.S. workplace policies into the 21st century.
The president, first lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and Dr. Jill Biden attended.
In an Op-Ed that appeared on the Huffington Post on Monday titled, “Family-Friendly Workplace Policies Are Not Frills, They’re Basic Needs,” Obama wrote that the subject of the first White House Summit on Working Families is “bringing together business leaders and workers to talk about the challenges that working parents face every day and how we can address them.”
He also breaks down the problems facing our workplace today into four subcategories: flexibility; paid family leave; childcare; and the minimum wage. Obama reminds the country that the U.S. is the only developed country in the world without paid maternity leave.
He says, “Family leave, childcare, flexibility, and a decent wage aren’t frills. They’re basic needs. They shouldn’t be bonuses—they should be the bottom line.”
Obama is calling on Congress to pass the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, because “Too many pregnant workers are forced to choose between their health and their job. They can get fired for taking too many bathroom breaks, or forced on unpaid leave just for being pregnant. It’s inhumane, and it needs to stop.”
President Obama is also directing the U.S. Labor Secretary to invest $25 million in helping people who want to enroll in job-training programs, but don’t currently have childcare.
After the summit, Michelle Obama, sat down for a one-on-one with ABC‘s Robin Roberts. Obama shared her thoughts on leadership, saying the United States is ready for another historical presidency.
On whether or not she could envision a female president, the first lady said, “That should happen as soon as possible. I think this country is ready. This country is ready for anyone who can do the job … we have some options, don’t we?”