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The Conversation Continues: Equal Pay and Workplace Flexibility

The Middle Class Task Force hosted a White House briefing on women's economic security. Vice President Joe Biden, Attorney General Eric Holder, Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, Director of the Domestic Policy Council Melody Barnes, and Chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls Valerie Jarrett participated in this event. Hear Valerie's thoughts.

At today’s Middle Class Task Force event Vice President Biden addressed two issues that affect the lives of women across our nation: closing the gender wage gap and balancing the demands of work and family. For the majority of American families, it is no longer the case that one parent is the breadwinner while the other is the caregiver. Women now make up nearly half of the labor force, and men and women are more evenly sharing care-giving responsibilities at home.  American families’ economic security depends in part on ensuring equitable pay, regardless of who is bringing home the paycheck, and on helping Americans balance work and family obligations.

The Obama Administration has already made great strides towards achieving these important goals, through actions such as passage of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, creation of the Equal Pay Enforcement Task Force, and hosting a White House forum that showcased the best practices in workplace flexibility. But there is still much work to be done.

Today, we are announcing the White House’s launch of a Work-Flex Event Starter Kit to encourage greater dialogue around workplace flexibility at the community level and bring people together to start making changes.

We encourage you to use the Event Starter Kit to host a discussion in your community about how innovative workplace flexibility policies can help employees balance work and family responsibilities, while simultaneously improving employers’ bottom lines.  A recent report by the President’s Council of Economic Advisers found that companies with flexible work arrangements often have lower turnover and absenteeism, higher productivity, and healthier workers.  The Event Starter Kit also contains resources for those looking to learn more about workplace flexibility, as well as information about the Obama Administration’s efforts to improve work-family balance for all Americans.

We hope you will register your community events with the White House in advance and then check back in with us to tell us what you accomplished. We are eager to learn more about the progress you are making in your communities and in workplaces both large and small, all across this great nation.  We hope you will lend your voice to this conversation, because workplace flexibility is an issue that fundamentally affects how all Americans live and work. 

Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President and Chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls