Helping families find the ever-elusive family-work balance is becoming a key issue for presidential candidates. Senator John Edwards is the latest candidate to announce his proposals to help working parents as part of his "Young Families Rising Agenda." The key issues announced today include: offering universal preschool and expanding affordable child care; offering paid leave to all workers by 2014; expanding the Family and Medical Leave Act to cover 13 million additional workers; requiring that businesses offer all full-time workers seven paid sick days a year.
"Two-thirds of mothers now work--most of them full time--but our workplace practices and public policies don't reflect this change," Edwards said in a press release. "It's time we offered universal preschool and expanded affordable child care. We must also extend the Family and Medical Leave Act so that working parents don’t have to choose between taking care of a sick child and losing their jobs. And we need to make sure every American has access to quality health care and a good-paying job. As president, I will fight to make sure young families can succeed and build a better life for their children."
Edward's policies seem similar to Senator Barack Obama's "Work Family Balance Agenda," which was announced last month. And both policies seem similar to Hillary Clinton's Work-Family Agenda, which was announced in October.
I'm sure there are differences between how each of these politician's policies would actually impact American families. I haven't sorted all that out yet. What I do know is that it is good to hear presidential candidates acknowledge that current programs are grossly inadequate, and that they--the top-running Democratic politicians--are trying to fix a broken system.