New Executive Order on Paid Sick Leave in the Works

The New York Times reported that President Obama has drafted an executive order that applies to federal contractors and sub-contractors. It states that any company that does business with the federal government is to issue paid leave to employees. This will benefit workers who are sick, are seeking medical attention or need to care for a sick relative.

Paid sick leave divides the American Labor market. Among the highest 10 percent of earners, 86 percent of employees have paid sick leave, while among the lowest 10 percent, just 22 percent have it, said Elise Gould, a senior economist at the liberal Economic Policy Institute.

This Executive Order would make the sixth employment-related executive action impacting federal contractors in the past 18 months.  The others include:

  • Federal Minimum Wage
  • Pay Transparency
  • LGBT
  • Equal Pay Report
  • Fair Pay & Safe Workplaces

This new executive order would set a minimum of about seven days paid sick leave and is broad in scope. It covers not just an employee’s illness but also caring for a child, parent, spouse, domestic partner “or any other individual related by blood or affinity whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship.” Additionally, sick leave would also comprise a worker’s being away from work due to domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking. If that time was used to seek medical attention or obtain counseling that would count as well. Employers would be ordered to allow unused paid leave to accrue, year after year.

Detailed regulations will be issued by the Labor secretary by September 30, 2016.

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