FROM: U.S. LABOR DEPARTMENT
Championing Paid Leave to Strengthen the Middle Class
President Obama unveiled new proposals to strengthen the middle class by giving working families greater flexibility to balance the competing demands of their families and jobs. On Jan. 15, the president called on Congress, states and cities to pass legislation that would allow millions of workers to earn paid sick leave. He also encouraged Congress to pass legislation giving federal employees six weeks of paid parental leave, and proposed more than $2 billion in funds to encourage states to develop paid family and medical leave programs. In a related announcement, U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez disclosed that the department will use $1 million in existing funds to help states and municipalities conduct studies on paid leave implementation. "This isn't just a question of work-family balance," Perez said. "It goes to the heart of economic security for millions of middle-class working families." Following the announcements, Obama and Perez discussed the benefits of paid leave with three workers at Charmington's Café in Baltimore, which pays all of its employees above the minimum wage and offers paid sick leave.