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Public Statements

Recognizing National Work and Family Month

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Ms. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in recognition of National Work and Family Month.

As a mother of three school-aged children, I know how difficult it is to juggle a demanding career while caring for a family. Despite our best attempts, our schedules are never entirely predictable--fevers, flight delays, and life's unexpected surprises have a way of throwing off the schedules we planned so meticulously. As we try to navigate life's twists and turns, a big part of our success hinges on the flexibility in our work environments.

Advances in technology are making greater workplace flexibility possible, but there is still a lot more we can do to make a healthy work-life balance become the norm rather than the exception.

The importance of employers promoting policies that support their employees' success within and outside the workplace must not be underestimated. Study after study shows that employers who offer effective work-life balance programs are able to attract and retain more talented employees and also maintain a healthier and happier workforce. Workers who have more input and flexibility with their schedules, such as accommodating work hours and paid sick leave, are able to care for their dependents without worrying about their job security--whether that means caring for a sick child home from school with the flu, a husband or wife recovering from a surgery, or an elderly parent who needs help getting to the doctor. Workers who can successfully manage their personal lives are less stressed, which results in a more productive workforce and lower costs associated with employee turnover.

More and more children are now growing up in a household with two full-time working parents, or are being raised by a single parent who works. For the sake of healthy children and families, employers must update their practices to reflect 21st century realities.

Investing in the health and wellbeing of our nation's workforce is not just smart for business; it's smart for our nation's long-term success. As research shows, increased parental involvement is associated with greater academic achievement and lower dropout rates for children, some of whom will become our nation's next generation of leaders.

So as we recognize National Work and Family Month, I encourage my fellow policy makers, employers, and employees to come together to create workplaces that are more flexible and supportive of our nation's hard working families.

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