President Obama held up France as the gold standard the U.S. workplace should emulatewrites The Washington Examiner's Susan Crabtree.
Extolling the business virtues of helping workers balance family and employment demands, including providing paid time off for the birth of a child, Obama said that if France can provide the benefits, so can the United States.
“Other countries know how to do this,” Obama said. “If France can figure this out, we can figure it out.”
France provides some of the most far-reaching worker rights in the developed world, including limiting a standard work week at 35 hours and providing 16 weeks of paid maternity leave.
France also has an unemployment rate that has hovered above 10 percent for more than two years, well above the rate of unemployed in the United Kingdom and the United States, which are both in the 6 percent range.
Obama made the comment at the first White House summit for working families, which sought to amplify issues like paid maternity leave and the ability to take paid leave to take care of elderly loved ones.
“Many women can't even get a paid day off to give birth,” Obama said. “There is only one developed country in the world that does not offer paid maternity leave, and that is us. And that is not a list you want to be on, by your lonesome.”
The White House hosted the summit jointly with the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank, and it served in part as a campaign pep rally focused on turning women voters out in November.