Obama Orders Paid Sick Leave In Latest Executive Action

President Obama signed an executive order that makes sick leave mandatory for all contractors who do business with the federal government. Barack Obama’s order requires contractors to grant a minimum of seven days of paid sick leave to their employees.

The sick leave executive order currently only applies to federal contractors, but President Obama is pushing Congress to pass a new law that would require paid days off for millions more workers via the Healthy Families Act. Paid sick leave used to be considered among benefits employers offered to court workers, the president’s executive order appears to express a desire to have the paid leave be considered a requirement or right.

Obama announced the sick leave executive order during a breakfast speech in Boston on Labor Day. The Healthy Families Act, considered by some to be another unfunded mandate handed down by the federal government, would apply to all employers in the United States with more than 15 employees.

“It builds on the growing momentum of people who are answering the call,” Obama said, Politico notes.

The Obama sick leave executive order will require federal contractors to grant one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. The White House added that the latest order by the president will “take into account” absences of employees related to domestic violence or stalking.

The mandatory sick leave requirement will not start until Obama leaves office in 2017, the Associated Press reports. The executive order and the Healthy Families Act coincide with a Labor Department proposal to increase the threshold for overtime pay and expand wages. President Obama also recently signed an executive order that raises the minimum wage for employees of federal contractors to $10.10 per hour.

Senator Elizabeth Warren attended the Boston Labor Day breakfast rally with President Obama. Vice President Joe Biden was absent. The possible Hillary Clinton challenger was speaking at an AFL-CIO rally in Pittsburgh organized by union boss Richard Trumka.

The White House statement about the Obama sick leave executive order did not address how much it would cost federal contractors to initiate the paid days off work. Even if the federal contractor has just one federal contract and accrues the bulk of its business with states, municipalities, and private customers, the seven days paid sick leave rule appears to still apply.

“There are certain Republicans that said we can’t afford to do this,” Labor Secretary Thomas Perez said.

He also claimed that GOP lawmakers are “out of step” with “similar conservative governments around the world.” Exactly what countries Perez was referring to remain unclear.

The Obama executive order also permits workers for federal contractors to take paid leave to care for sick relatives.

What do you think about the latest Obama executive order and mandating paid sick days?

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