⌛ Did you miss ProPicks’ 13% gains in May? Subscribe now & catch June’s top AI-picked stocks early.Unlock Stocks

Harris meets with CEOs to drum up support for child care proposals -White House

Published 08/12/2021, 07:57 AM
Updated 08/12/2021, 04:47 PM
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris discusses the U.S. Senate's passage of the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, during a meeting in the State Dining Room at the White House in Washington, U.S., August 10, 2021. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstei

By Susan Heavey and Andrea Shalal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Vice President Kamala Harris underscored the importance of affordable childcare for improving U.S. competitiveness during a meeting with top executives of seven companies including Microsoft Corp (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Etsy (NASDAQ:ETSY) on Thursday.

Harris - seeking to build support for a $3.5 trillion measure that tackles childcare, climate, healthcare and other Biden administration priorities - said the business leaders had shown that providing child care and paid leave boosted productivity and aided their recruiting efforts.

The meeting, which included the heads of AirBnB Inc, Gap Inc (NYSE:GPS), Chobani, Seventh Generation and Patagonia, is part of the Biden administration's push to ensure passage of the new legislation, whose mammoth size has already caused divisions among even some Democrats. Affordable child care "when we prioritize it as a nation, contributes to our ability to be competitive globally," Harris said, adding it also had a direct impact on recruitment, retention, worker productivity, and corporate profits.

The White House said the companies participating in the meeting supported child care and paid leave policies.

Harris said Build Back Better, Biden's agenda for the U.S. economy's post-pandemic recovery, was aimed at lowering costs for families, helping businesses and strengthening the economy, while addressing longstanding "fissures and failures" in American society.

Economists estimate that lack of access to family-friendly policies, such as child care and paid parental leave, explains nearly a third of the decline in U.S. women’s labor force participation relative to other OECD countries.

Nearly 2 million women left the labor force during the COVID-19 pandemic to care for children and elderly relatives, and many have not yet returned to work.

On Wednesday, Biden met with business and education leaders including the heads of United Airlines and healthcare provider Kaiser Permanente to discuss efforts to address ways to get more people vaccinated against COVID-19.

The coronavirus has upended the economy and killed more than 617,000 people nationwide.

Businesses have in general struggled to hire workers during the pandemic for various reasons, though unemployment has fallen after spiking last year amid widespread shutdowns.

© Reuters. U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris meets with business leaders about the so-called care economy of national social services in her office in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House grounds in Washington, U.S., August 12, 2021.  REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

After passing a $1.9 trillion coronavirus-related rescue plan into law in March, Democrats are now pushing the $3.5 trillion measure, which includes $726 billion for universal preschool for 3- and 4-year-olds and child care for working families, and aids caregivers of the elderly and disabled.

"When workers don’t have adequate care for their families, that can translate to lower productivity, increased absenteeism, and higher turnover – all hurting the bottom line for businesses," a White House official said, adding that a separate coalition of more than 275 businesses had backed the child care proposal.

Latest comments

Risk Disclosure: Trading in financial instruments and/or cryptocurrencies involves high risks including the risk of losing some, or all, of your investment amount, and may not be suitable for all investors. Prices of cryptocurrencies are extremely volatile and may be affected by external factors such as financial, regulatory or political events. Trading on margin increases the financial risks.
Before deciding to trade in financial instrument or cryptocurrencies you should be fully informed of the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, carefully consider your investment objectives, level of experience, and risk appetite, and seek professional advice where needed.
Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. The data and prices on the website are not necessarily provided by any market or exchange, but may be provided by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual price at any given market, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Fusion Media and any provider of the data contained in this website will not accept liability for any loss or damage as a result of your trading, or your reliance on the information contained within this website.
It is prohibited to use, store, reproduce, display, modify, transmit or distribute the data contained in this website without the explicit prior written permission of Fusion Media and/or the data provider. All intellectual property rights are reserved by the providers and/or the exchange providing the data contained in this website.
Fusion Media may be compensated by the advertisers that appear on the website, based on your interaction with the advertisements or advertisers.
© 2007-2024 - Fusion Media Limited. All Rights Reserved.