NEW YORK (Reuters) - Facebook Inc Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg posted a Mother’s Day appeal on Sunday for federal and corporate policies to benefit working parents, including a minimum wage increase, mandated paid parental leave and affordable childcare.
Sandberg, an influential voice in corporate America and author of the successful 2013 book “Lean In,” said the U.S. government and employers must do more to help parents, especially single mothers, who are struggling to provide for their children while assuring their safety and well-being.
“It’s time for our public policies to catch up with what our families deserve and our values demand,” Sandberg, a 47-year-old widowed mother of two, wrote on her personal Facebook page. “We all have a responsibility to help mothers as well as fathers balance their responsibilities at work and home.”
One of the most important actions the government could take is to help millions of families living near the poverty line by raising the federal minimum wage, Sandberg said.
More than 40 percent of American mothers are the primary breadwinners for their families, she said, and many of them are the only breadwinner.
Sandberg’s message was accompanied by a picture of her with her mother and mother-in-law on the day of her wedding to former SurveyMonkey Chief Executive Officer Dave Goldberg, who died in 2015 from cardiac arrhythmia.
In “Lean In,” she encouraged women to be more ambitious in the workplace. Following Goldberg’s death, she co-wrote the book “Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience and Finding Joy” that was published this year.
Sandberg called for more protections for mothers, fathers, gay and transgender parents as well as for adoptive parents who seek a leave of absence from their job to care for a child or other family member.
“We shouldn’t have to risk losing a job or being able to meet the basic needs of our families to do that,” Sandberg said.
Sandberg, one of the wealthiest American women with a net worth of $1.38 billion, said the United States is one of the only developed countries not to guarantee paid family or maternity leave.
Sandberg also said American parents need affordable childcare. In the United States, the cost of daycare for two children is more than the median annual rent in all 50 states, she said.
“How are parents supposed to work if they don’t have a safe and affordable place to leave their kids?” she asked.
While President Donald Trump’s daughter and adviser Ivanka Trump has publicly stated her support for paid maternity leave, her father has not articulated a clear position on such benefits, as well as the other issues Sandberg raised in her post.
In a Mother’s Day Facebook post last year, Sandberg called for greater public and corporate support for single, working mothers.
(This version of the story corrects to show the cause of Dave Sandberg’s death was cardiac arrhythmia, in paragraph 6)
Editing by Frank McGurty; Editing by Will Dunham