You can’t legislate more hours in the day – but here’s something we can do

Sometimes 24 hours isn’t enough. For working families across America, balancing work and home and children and bills and life  is a lot. But this week, House Republicans presented a package of bills  that will make life easier for a lot of people.

Increasing flexibility in the workplace: Unfortunately, there’s no way to add hours to the clock. And, when you have to balance life at work and at home, time becomes valuable. The Working Families Flexibility Act of 2013 gives private-sector employees the ability to use overtime hours for paid time off – as public sector employees can now. This will allow parents to take time off to be with their kids, and go to things like baseball games, mission trips, or school functions.

Increasing take-home pay: Every day costs  on things like gas, groceries, and air costs  are rising, as larger purchases like health care and education are skyrocketing.  For families, this growing financial squeeze can be detrimental. Bills like the Child Tax Credit Improvement Act  and the Student and Family Tax Simplification Act will put more money in the pockets of parents and make planning for future opportunities easier and more affordable.

Rewarding those who work hard: And often, when both parents work, other costs are incurred  like childcare or automobile costs. The Empowering Americans To Work Act was introduced by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and would amend the tax code to provide a deduction for families with a second income worker, to help make those every day expenses more affordable.

On the other end of the spectrum, sometimes children are left taking care of aging parents. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) introduced the Families First Act, which updates the dependent care tax credit to match inflation  so that that Americans paying for expensive health care costs for parents or children get the relief they need financially.

Advancing Opportunity in the Workplace: Rep. McMorris Rodgers has introduced a bill that will protect workers who discuss their salaries in the workplace. This bill would strengthen existing laws to help stop discrimination at work everyone, without adding unnecessary mandates and litigation to wage requirements.

Also, by increasing job training programs, all Americans will have access to the skills they need for good-paying job opportunities. Four million jobs are unfilled in the United States, because of a lack of skilled workers to fill the gaps. The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act would connect Americans with the programs they need  while also making the current job-training program more efficient and effective.

 Across America, families are making it work. But sometimes, we all need a little help. These bills have the potential to make life so much easier for so many Americans. As House Republicans, we want to empower all Americans so they can reach their full potential  no matter where they started.