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Freshman Rep. Haaland Introduces Bill to Incentivize Family-Friendly Workplaces

August 23, 2019 by Sean Trambley

In July, freshman Representative Deb Haaland, D-N.M., was joined by a dozen colleagues to introduce important legislation aimed at supporting family-friendly workplaces and incentivizing businesses to implement family-friendly policies for their workers. 

H.R. 3838, the Honoring Family Friendly Workplaces Act, would create a Department of Labor certification program that recognizes exemplary family-friendly businesses by promoting best practices, incentivizing businesses to adapt to the realities of working parents’ lives and helping employees to evaluate potential employers. 

The certification program introduced in the Honoring Family Friendly Workplaces Act is modeled after the EPA’s ENERGY STAR program which helps consumers identify energy-efficient products and evaluates businesses on a number of policies. 

If signed into law, businesses will be evaluated on their policies including:

  • Paid sick days for workers;
  • Child care assistance;
  • Support for breastfeeding mothers; 
  • Reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers;
  • Accommodations for families seeking fertility treatment or adoption services;
  • Paid family leave of at least 12 weeks and flexible hours once parents return to work after a birth, adoption, or foster care placement. 

By promoting progressive workplace reform, the bill helps to advance the rights of women, improves the well-being of children and families, and aids businesses in getting the most out of their employees. 

“Our parents deserve workplaces that value family just as much as they do, but right now the people-over-profits mentality makes it difficult for many to both support their family financially and care for their family,” Rep. Haaland said. “As a single Mom, I know the challenges that working parents face every day, and the federal government needs to do more to promote positive changes in our workplaces. That’s why we’re introducing a program that will nudge businesses to do the right thing to improve the lives of our families.”

Debra L. Ness, president of the National Partnership for Women & Families, commended Haaland for introducing the Act, noting that employers that adopt family-friendly policies “improve the lives of their employees, raise the bar for industry standards and promote better state and federal policies.”

She went on to say that it is particularly important that the act recognizes companies that provide critical workplace supports like paid family and medical leave and paid sick days. 

“These benefits are worthwhile investments that improve the lives of employees and employers as well as families and communities,” Ness said. 

Cosponsors include Representatives Nydia Velázquez, D-N.Y., Grace Napolitano, D-Ca., José E. Serrano, D-N.Y., Donald M. Payne D-N.J., Nanette Diaz Barragán, D-Ca., André Carson, D-Ind., Julia Brownley, D-Ca., Alcee L. Hastings, D-Fla., Bobby Rush, D-Ill., Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-Ca., Salud Carbajal, D-Ca., and Grace Meng, D-N.Y.
The full bill text is available here.

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