President Obama will decree today, through executive order, that government contractors be offered seven days of paid sick leave per year in an effort to remain abreast of the rest of the industrialized world. The president will sign the order today in Boston. The executive order is expected to affect over 300,000 government contract workers.
A White House spokesperson and senior advisor to the president, Valerie Jarrett, stated that the president has always been highly concerned about the plight of working families, reported Reuters. The White House also noted that the United States is the only first world country without such a sick leave policy in place for contractors.
The order will go into affect in 2017 and will offer contractor workers one hour of paid time per thirty hours of work. Contractors, of course, are free to be more generous but that will be the declared minimum. In January, President Obama also issued an executive order declaring that the government is to give workers up to sixty days of sick leave to accommodate the birth or adoption of a child.
Obama has also called on Congress to order that workers be awarded six more weeks of paid leave for parental related responsibilities. Congress, of course, has yet to tally up what the cost will be to employers to implement these executive order directives.
While in Boston, the president will also issue a call to the Congress to enact his Healthy Families Act. The law, if passed, will decree that at least seven paid sick days every year be awarded to employees that work at a business or company that has more than fifteen employees. The President also expects to issue the Department of Labor new guidelines and directives designed to enable workers to have access to the tools they need to demand sick leave time and compensation.
According to the White House, at least 40% of all workers in the private sector don’t currently have access to any paid sick time.