A Summit on Working Families was held at the White House as a part of Democrat’s agenda to create an economy that will work specially for working families. As a part of this agenda, here are the policies that will help the government create a family-friendly economy:
- Create livable wages – the first step to creating such an economy is to revamp current minimum wages. Minimum wage is simply not just wages given to teens in summer jobs but rather there are also millions of American families who also rely on minimum wage. If the minimum wage goes up, these families’ wages will also go up. It is also a fact that most minimum wage earners are women and mothers working as head of the family.
- There should be equal pay – most women these days make it easier to work outside their homes and it is estimated that four out of 10 US households in US with children under 18 are under the care of a mother that is the breadwinner of the family. At present, mother and wives that are breadwinners still bring home less compared to their male counterparts. An important act called the Paycheck Fairness Act secure equal pay for working women as well as their families by making amendments of the original Equal Pay Act. This ensures that women will be able to find out whether they are being discriminated by their employers. Employers that are caught violating this act suffer severe penalties.
- Improved child care – it is estimated that most US families need improved child care; about 64% of families have two working parents and currently about 84% of single parents work. According to a figure released by the Department of Agriculture, it will cost around $241,080 to raise a child born in the year 2012 and this figure does not include the cost of sending the child to college. There should be better funding for programs to help middle income families afford child care like Head Start.
- Revamps on compensations – at present, there are no laws that allow workers to get paid sick leaves. It has been estimated by the Center for American Progress that about 38% of US workers do not have access to paid sick leaves. According to a test using a public testing group by NSF International, about 25% of workers even report for work sick or leaving a sick child behind simply because their bosses required them to do so. Coming to work even when you are sick greatly increases the chances of spreading illness and this costs employers about $160 billion annually according to the Center for American Progress.
- Family leaves – just like paid sick leaves, there is no such thing as a paid family leave. Fathers in particular are not provided with paid paternity leaves. With unpaid leaves, families are forced to choose whether family or work is more important. New laws are being considered to provide at least 12 weeks of leave at 66% of their salaries through an employee and employer payroll fund.