Obama urges Congress to end embargo on Cuba
Looking to California, Obama calls for expanded paid leave.
The United States is the only advanced economy with no paid parental leave policy, no paid sick days. US President Barack Obama called on Congress to pass a law guaranteeing equal pay for women, saying it was crucial to helping boost the incomes of struggling families. “Nothing helps families make ends meet like higher wages,” Obama said in his annual State of the Union speech. “That’s why this Congress still needs to pass a law that makes sure a woman is paid the same as a man for doing the same work. The proposal was part of a list of initiatives Obama called “middle-class economics” aimed at strengthening household incomes and pulling millions of Americans from the edge of poverty. The president last week implored federal lawmakers as well as state and local officials to adopt legislation granting millions of workers up to seven days of paid sick leave each year.
He told Congress to back plans that would ease cost-of-living pressures on working-class families, including better pay, childcare support and paid sick and maternity leave. Obama signed a presidential memorandum directing federal agencies to provide employees with up to six weeks of paid leave for parents with a new child.
He also urged new laws forcing employers to pay overtime wages to more workers, raise the minimum wage, and provide free community college studies to prepare people for “the new economy.” “At every moment of economic change throughout our history, this country has taken bold action to adapt to new circumstances, and to make sure everyone gets a fair shot,” the president said. “Middle-class economics means helping working families feel more secure in a world of constant change. That means helping folks afford childcare, college, health care, a home, retirement .” According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, in 2011, men earned nearly 18 percent more than women, and other data suggests the gap has not closed since then. “It’s time we stop treating childcare as a side issue, or a women’s issue, and treat it like the national economic priority that it is for all of us,” he said. And a poll of likely 2016 voters being released on Wednesday by the Make It Work campaign, an advocacy organization pushing to make these working family issues central to the 2016 campaign, found that Democratic, Independent and even Republican voters overwhelmingly agree. New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. About 70 percent said that workplace laws and policies are out of synch with the changing realities of modern families, and with the changing roles of men and women at work and at home.
The policies that President Obama proposed to address the issue are nowhere near the policies that many European countries offer, but they would mark a significant change. Also wading into the debate was former California first lady Maria Shriver, who returned to the Capitol last year to deliver a report on women and poverty.
There are significant majorities supporting these issues across party lines.” It is the first of a number of actions to raise awareness and build momentum that the group, a coalition of groups like MomsRising and Family Values @ Work. And, unable to afford child care, her mother helps watch her daughter, now 14 months.) On New Year’s Eve, Eiklenborg became ill with vomiting and diarrhea and called in sick.
California lawmakers tried for nearly a decade to push similar legislation after San Francisco became the nation’s first locality to provide a sick leave guarantee. So the debate is no longer whether we’re going to have a policy or not, but how do you actually get it done?” But the poll showed support waned and voters were divided when asked if requiring employers to provide paid sick time was too burdensome.
In his speech, Obama said he would continue to advance economic policies he believes are crucial to improving the lives of working families. “Middle-class economics works. Congress hasn’t passed working family legislation since 1992 and the Family Medical Leave Act, FMLA, which itself took 10 years, two vetoes and bitter debate to pass.
In September, Obama awarded $500,000 in grants to the District of Columbia, Massachusetts, and Montana to study the feasibility of creating state paid leave programs. Kirsten Gillibrand, a Democrat, tweeted that she planned to re-introduce a paid family leave bill that stalled and went nowhere in the previous Congress. And perhaps now is a good time to note that Republican House Speaker John Boehner, seated implacably behind Obama during the speech Tuesday night, once said of FMLA that it was just “another example of yuppie empowerment.” But Janet Gornick, a professor of political science and sociology at the Graduate Center, City University of New York, who has studied family policy around the world, does see the conversation starting to change. “While other countries have seen caring for children as an investment, the American notion has always been that children are the property of parents, like pets,” she said.
That’s left politicians and policymakers off the hook for creating an environment that supports working families, she said, and forced parents to scramble to find individual solutions. “But now people, even the right, are talking about, if you go to work, and you’re playing by the rules, you shouldn’t lose your job just because you reproduced.
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