US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions

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HELP Committee Chairman Harkin Applauds White House Actions to Support Working Families

Last Month, Harkin Convened Hearing on Economic Security of Working Women

Monday, June 23, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, applauded White House actions announced today to support working families. Among the actions taken is a Presidential Memorandum directing federal agencies to implement flexible workplace policies as much as possible, according to the White House. The Department of Labor will also provide pregnant workers with information about their rights in each state through a new interactive online map. Other actions include expanding access to child care, exploring opportunities for state-level paid leave programs, and increasing women’s access to jobs and training in STEM and other nontraditional occupations.

“While women have entered the workforce in growing numbers over the last several decades, the sad truth is that our workplaces have not kept up with the changing times. I applaud President Obama and his Administration for taking administrative measures to support working women and working families,” Harkin said. “Beyond the President’s pen, we know that Congress also must act to ensure that Americans can meet both work and family obligations. This includes raising the minimum wage; allowing workers to earn paid sick days and paid maternity, family, and medical leave; ensuring pay equity; requiring accommodations for pregnant workers; and allowing workers to have input into their work schedules.

“We have seen in states and cities across the United States that such policies benefit more than just families. They’re also good for the economy. Employers have more loyal, healthy, and productive employees, and businesses thrive when working Americans have steady paychecks to shop at their neighborhood stores and support the local economy. I look forward to continued work with the President and with my colleagues in the Senate to ensure that all Americans have access to the supports and protections they need to be both successful workers and caregivers.”

As Chair of the HELP Committee, Harkin has been a strong voice for fair pay and worker protections, leading the Senate introduction of legislation to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 and to allow workers to earn paid sick days, which would help millions of working families. He recently convened a hearing on the economic security of working women.

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