President Barack Obama will be signing an executive order on Monday, giving hundreds of thousands of employees who are working under federal contractors access to paid sick leaves.
Under the executive order, workers employed under federal contractors will be able to gain at least seven days of paid sick leave annually. Additionally, about 300,000 workers will benefit from having access to paid sick leaves. More workers are expected to receive the ability to earn more sick leaves than they did before. The order, which will let users apply for sick leaves to take care of their relatives and dear ones, will be incorporated in contracts starting 2017.
“There are certain Republicans that said we can’t afford to do this,” Labor Secretary Thomas Perez said. “The Republican Party is out of step with similar conservative governments around the world.”
The new order is expected to be unveiled in a Labor Day speech in Boston. The order will reflect a Massachusetts law – which went into effect in July – that stated that employees could earn up to 40 hours of sick leave annually, as reported by The Washington Post.
In his State of the Union address in January, Obama had said, “We are the only advanced country on Earth that doesn’t guarantee paid sick leave or paid maternity leave to our workers. And that forces too many parents to make the gut-wrenching choice between a paycheck and a sick kid at home.”
According to Fox News, almost 44 million private sector workers – which amount to roughly 40 percent of the workforce in the private sector – don’t have access to paid sick leave. However, the White House could not reveal an estimated number of the contractors that don’t provide their employees paid sick leave.
Obama’s latest move was praised by workers’ rights advocates, who say that private companies will be motivated to include similar policies.
“Such a move is precisely the government’s role: to create model standards for the rest of the country to follow,” Ellen Bravo, the executive director of Family Values at Work, said.
On the contrary, the workplace executive orders are being said may result in an escalation of costs for federal contractors and subcontractors. The White House didn’t put a number on how much contractors might lose in compensation costs.
According to ABC News, administration officials say that the move will attract more workers towards companies contracting with the federal government. It will also decrease the costs associated with worker attrition rates.
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