About the Event

This spring, President Obama will convene a White House Summit on Working Families to focus on how we can strengthen our nation’s workplaces to better support working families, boost businesses’ bottom lines, and ensure America’s global economic competitiveness in the coming decades.

The White House Summit on Working Families, hosted jointly by the Center for American Progress, the Department of Labor, and the White House Council on Women and Girls, will convene businesses, economists, labor leaders, legislators, advocates, the media, and ordinary citizens for a discussion on issues facing the entire spectrum of working families – from low-wage workers to corporate executives; from young parents to baby boomers caring for their own aging parents.

Creating a 21st century workplace that works for everyone

To create workplaces that are thriving and competitive in today’s global economy, we must make full use of the talented pool of American workers. The White House Summit on Working Families will focus on strategies to ensure all members of our society have equal access to high-quality jobs. Of particular significance is the increasingly important role of women as breadwinners in working families. Topics will include key issues such as workplace flexibility, equal pay, workplace discrimination, worker retention and promotion, opportunities for low-wage workers, elder care, childcare, and early childhood education.


Manuel Balce Ceneta. Associated Press.

FAQs

  • Q
  • Why do we need a white House Summit?
  • A
  • We need to ensure that America remains competitive in a global economy by making the most of our pool of talent. Ensuring that everyone is able to contribute their full potential requires eliminating barriers based on gender and family responsibilities. Workplaces that adjust for a 21st century workforce by ensuring equal pay for equal work, helping families meet their work and home obligations, and promoting fairness and good employer practices are key to businesses’ bottom lines, the strength of our economy, and our global competitiveness. The financial security of hardworking American families is the foundation of a strong economy. Yet today, many of these working families are living paycheck to paycheck, struggling to achieve economic stability. The White House Summit on Working Families will provide a critical opportunity to bring together leaders from many different sectors to discuss the specific challenges undermining families’ economic security and identify concrete solutions that can help families—and our nation—move forward together.
  • Q
  • Why working families?
  • A
  • The vast majority of American families are working families, where one or more family members participate in the labor force. For most of these families, achieving economic security often hinges on whether they have stable jobs with decent pay and opportunities for advancement. The White House Summit on Working Families will focus on the steps we can take to improve workers’ employment options while also making our workplaces stronger and more productive.
  • Q
  • Why is there a special focus on women?
  • A
  • The past four decades have seen a dramatic transformation of the U.S. workforce, fueled largely by changes in American families. In 1970, millions of American families relied on the support of a full-time stay-at-home caregiver, usually a wife. The world of the 21st century is different. Today, less than one in three children has a parent that stays at home and women comprise half—47 percent—of all workers on U.S payrolls. The movement of women out of the home and into the paid labor force stands out as one of the most important transformations of the American workforce. Women increasingly play a central role in determining their families’ economic standing—6 in 10 women are now the sole, primary, or co-breadwinners for their families. But many workplaces have not caught up. Too many women still earn less than men for doing the same job and often face barriers to job advancement. Although all workers will directly benefit from better workplace policy, the impact will be greatest for working women and their families.
  • Q
  • What is the focus of the White House Summit?
  • A
  • Since the beginning of his Administration, the President has focused on how we can create real, lasting security for the middle class by strengthening our nation’s workplaces to better support working families. To create workplaces that ensure every hard working American has the opportunity to get ahead and that are competitive on a global scale, we must make full use of the talented pool of American workers – and this requires innovative solutions for how workplaces and families interact. There will be a mix of panel discussions to engage participants in identifying concrete policy solutions, showcase employer best practices, discuss the positive impact potential policies can have on businesses’ bottom lines, as well as for our economy overall, and offer concrete tools that you and your community can use to ensure that we protect working families.
  • Q
  • What has the Obama administration done so far to support working families and help women reach their full economic potential?
  • A
  • From day one, President Obama has made it his priority to help women reach their full economic potential and help families balance their responsibilities at home and at work, while creating more productive workplaces. For example, the first piece of legislation the president signed was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which makes it easier for women to bring claims of pay discrimination before the court. Shortly after, he created the National Equal Pay Task Force to crackdown on violations of equal pay laws. He has also worked to make sure the federal government is a model employer—signing the Telework Enhancement Act and a presidential memorandum to close the gender wage gap for federal workers. President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama also hosted the first ever White House Forum on Workplace Flexibility to bring this important issue into the national spotlight, including a report issued by the president’s Council of Economic Advisors on the Economics of Workplace Flexibility. And in each of his budgets, the president has included a proposal for a state paid leave fund to help states with the start-up costs of creating their own paid leave programs.
  • Q
  • Is this just about government solutions?
  • A
  • No; as President Obama says, government cannot do it alone. Everyone has a role to play, and we want everyone to be involved in helping to make our workplaces stronger and our families more secure.
  • Q
  • What role can the private sector play?
  • A
  • Many businesses already see the competitive advantage of organizing work to ensure that women and workers with families succeed. They know policies that support women and families lead to more productive workers and help business attract and retain their best talent, all while improving their bottom line. The White House Summit on Working Families will help showcase businesses that are already doing great work as models for success and discuss strategies to recruit even more companies to commit to supporting working families. We will invite economists, academics, and researchers to make the case for the positive economic impact these types of policies can have on the economy and businesses’ bottom line.
  • Q
  • Who can attend the White House Summit?
  • A
  • Attendees will come from around the country and will include policy experts, leaders from business and academia, legislators, advocates, employees, local elected officials and interested individuals. In order for the White House Summit on Working Families to motivate a public response, we need to hear how our federal and local laws affect working families from around the country. It is only by engaging directly with communities and by hearing your stories that we can continue to learn about the challenges facing working families. All of your voices must be heard, because the challenges facing you and your families fundamentally affect how all Americans work and live.
  • Q
  • What do we hope to accomplish?
  • A
  • We hope the White House Summit on Working Families will fuel and energize action across the country to strengthen our workplaces and working families, enhance business success, and keep our country competitive in the global economy. Every American—from business and government, to academics and advocates, to women and men across the country— can play a role in helping working families become more economically secure and making our country more competitive. We want every participant to walk away with concrete tools and strategies they can use to improve their workplace practices, become more economically secure, and to create change in their own communities.

The Basics

June 23rd, 2014
Omni Shoreham Hotel
2500 Calvert St NW
Washington, D.C. 20008

Agenda

Agenda will be announced in the upcoming weeks. Make sure you have signed up for updates!

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