An executive order signed by President Barack Obama on Labor Day now requires that federal contractors provide up to seven days of paid sick leave to their employees.
The order was reportedly signed aboard Air Force One as the President made his way to a labor union rally in Boston, and it marks a major push back against what the President has deemed to be a “constant attack on working Americans” by Republicans.
What the New Executive Order Entails
According to the provisions of this recently signed executive order:
- Employees working on federal contracts will now have the right to accrue at least one hour of paid leave for every 30 hours of labor they provide.
- Over the course of a year (of full-time employment), this could allow an employee to accrue up to seven days of paid sick leave.
- This paid sick leave can be used to take time off of work to care for sick loved ones and/or deal with the impacts of domestic violence, stalking and/or sexual assault.
- The executive order will only apply to new government contracts as of 2017.
This could end up providing as many as 44 million American workers – approximately 40 percent of the private sector – who currently do not get paid sick leave with this new benefit, the White House has reported.
As the White House went on to explain about this executive order:
Providing families the security of paid leave is just one piece of the President's plan to support America's workers and grow the middle class. The President believes that all Americans should have the opportunity to succeed in our global economy and all working families should be able to afford the cornerstones of economic security. Middle class economics has helped to make America stronger over the past six years, with our businesses creating 13.1 million new jobs over a record 66 straight months of job growth. President Obama is pursuing policies that will ensure a growing economy — one with opportunities for employment, higher wages, higher incomes, fairer pay for women, workplace flexibility for parents, affordable health insurance, and adequate retirement benefits.
Critics, however, have pointed out that the White House did not fully consider the financial impacts that this new order would have on government contractors. However, the White House has stated that any costs incurred by this paid time off would likely be offset by improved loyalty among the workforce.
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