As part of a series of pre-State of the Union policy proposals, White House operative Valerie Jarrett revealed on Wednesday that President Obama’s plan is to push mandatory paid maternity leave.
Jarrett said the president intends to issue an executive order that will ensure that federal employees receive six weeks of paid maternity leave.
The president also wants Congress to enshrine the concept in a new federal law that would impose the policy on all private sector businesses.
Jarrett, the President’s closest advisor, laid out Obama’s reasonings in a blog post on the employee networking site LinkedIn.
In her post, Jarrett insisted that six weeks of paid leave is a “worker’s right,” not just a privilege.
Jarrett claimed the administration chose the business-oriented, job networking site LinkedIn because its users are “in the best position to drive change.”
“We can’t say we stand for family values when so many women in this country have to jeopardize their financial security just to take a few weeks off of work after giving birth,” said Jarrett. “We can’t say we’re for middle-class stability when a man has to sacrifice his economic security to care for his ailing mother.”
Obama suggests that $2.2 billion be “allocated” to study and establish paid leave programs.
This is the latest in the President’s series of policy proposals he is floating ahead of his State of the Union speech.
As the State of the Union speech nears, Obama has been launching trial balloons to see what might prove a hit for his annual night of big policy initiatives, including cyber security and Internet proposals, two years of “free” community college, and changes in the way people qualify for homeownership.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter: @warnerthuston. Email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.