President Barack Obama marked Labor Day by signing an executive order on Monday, September 7, that requires paid sick leave for employees of federal contractors. This would impact an estimated 300,000 workers who currently receive no paid sick leave.
Under the executive order, employees working on federal contracts gain the right to a minimum of one hour of paid leave for every 30 hours they work. Stretched out over 12 months, that’s up to seven days per year. The order will allow employees to use the leave to care for sick relatives as well, and will affect contracts starting in 2017.
Roughly 44 million private sector workers don’t get paid sick leave — about 40 percent of the private-sector workforce, the White House said. The White House said it couldn’t estimate how many federal contractors don’t offer paid leave now.
Eventually, the President would like to expand the requirement beyond contract workers to all but the smallest U.S. businesses. Other executive orders have barred federal contractors from discriminating against workers based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, raised the minimum wage for contractors and expanded the number of contract workers eligible for overtime.
The Labor Department said contractors would see increased worker loyalty, and that that would save money to offset the costs the employer might incur.