Obama Announces Plans to Encourage Employers to Be More Family Friendly

The president will announce a plan to support working families, particularly working mothers, while arranging more flexibility to raise children. 

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President Barack Obama speaking to the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials during the group’s conference June 22, 2012, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Obama spoke about immigration reform, the economy and the 2012 presidential election. 

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/GettyImages

President Barack Obama will be spending his Monday morning advocating on behalf of working families, announcing steps to create more opportunities and flexibility for families at the first White House Summit on Working Families, according to a press release.

Claiming to be representative of a “21st-century workplace,” a presidential memorandum Obama plans to sign Monday is meant to “help families better balance work and spending time at home,” by helping to “protect pregnant working women, increase investments for research to understand the economic benefits of paid leave, expand apprenticeships for women, target resources to help more women enter higher-paying STEM and other fields and make child care more affordable for working families.”

“At a time when women make up about half of America’s workforce, outdated workplace policies that make it harder for mothers to work hold our entire economy back,” Obama explained in his weekly address that focused on the summit. “But these aren’t just problems for women. Men also care about who’s watching their kids. They’re rearranging their schedules to make it to soccer games and school plays. Lots of sons help care for aging parents. And plenty of fathers would love to be home for their new baby’s first weeks in the world. 

"A new study shows that nearly half of all parents—women and men—report that they’ve said no to a job, not because they didn’t want it, but because it would be too hard on their families,” he added. “When that many talented, hard-working people are forced to choose between work and family, something’s wrong. Other countries are making it easier for people to have both. We should too, if we want American businesses to compete and win in the global economy.”

Obama is expected to deliver key remarks about the policies, as well as participate in one of the round table discussions. First lady Michelle Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, along with his wife, Jill Biden, will also be attending events at the daylong summit.

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