The Obama Administration has said that expanding paid leave is a top priority, and the president has made good on that pledge by signing an executive order on Labor Day requiring that federal contractors provide their employees with paid sick leave.
White House officials say the order will give about 300,000 workers under federal contracts up to seven paid sick days per year.
These workers will earn one hour of leave for every 30 hours worked. The rules will start with new federal contracts signed starting in 2017.
“Many parents are forced to choose between taking an unpaid day off work — losing much needed income and potentially threatening their jobs — and sending a sick child who should be home in bed to school,” the White House said in a statement.
Most government workers already receive paid sick days through their jobs, but about 39 percent of private-sector workers do not, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The workers who don’t have paid sick leave are disproportionately employed in low-wage industries such as restaurants, retail and hospitality.
The White House also urged U.S. lawmakers to pass legislation guaranteeing sick days for workers. U.S. does not have a law requiring businesses to offer employees paid sick leave, unlike most industrialized nations. Democrats have sponsored sick-leave legislation to no avail in the Republican-controlled Congress.
Paid sick leave earned under this executive order may be used by an employee for an absence resulting from:
- Physical or mental illness, injury, or medical condition;
- Obtaining diagnosis, care, or preventive care from a health care provider;
- Caring for a child, a parent, a spouse, a domestic partner, or any other individual related by blood or affinity whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship … ;
- Domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, if the time absent from work is for the purposes otherwise described … to obtain additional counseling, to seek relocation, to seek assistance from a victim services organization, to take related legal action.
Additionally, paid sick leave accrued under this executive order shall carry over from 1 year to the next and shall be reinstated for employees rehired by a covered contractor within 12 months after a job separation. Read the full order via the Huffington Post here.