- By Edward
- With No Comments
- On 10 Apr | '2016
Obama Uses Executive Order to Ensure Contractors Get Paid Sick Leave
On Labor Day 2015 President Obama used an Executive Order to direct companies with Federal Contracts to provide their employees with at minimum 7 days of paid sick leave per year. The Executive Order comes into effect on January 1, 2017, for all contracts awarded on or after that date. The order also stipulates that employers must allow sick leave to carry over year to year for employees.
The President’s Order Extends to Family As Well
The President’s order will extend to “a child, a parent, a spouse, a domestic partner, or any other individual related by blood or affinity where the relationship is equivalent to that of a family relationship”. This allows workers to take paid time off to help take care of a sick child or anyone they have a familial relationship with.
This Executive Order Follows with 4 States and 24 Municipalities but Goes a Step Further
While Connecticut, California, Massachusetts and Oregon have laws providing paid sick leave for state employees, the President’s Order provides more days of sick leave. The Order stipulates 1 hour of sick leave per 30 hours of work. Also, with the benefit of being able to carry sick days over year to year the President has surpassed State laws that usually limit the time to 40 hours able to be carried over.
President Obama is Not Afraid of Using Executive Orders to Shake Up Federal Contracting Guidelines
Since taking office in 2008, President Obama has issued 12 Executive Orders that pertain to government contracting. His orders have caused 16 new regulations for Employers to adhere to and have been designed to improve worker’s lives. While his actions have begun to ruffle feathers in the Government Contracting arena, the President doesn’t seem to mind trying to make things equal for workers.
Republicans in Congress Oppose the President’s Efforts
As is the case with most of the President’s policies or orders, this one was met with opposition in Congress. Republican Senators say the order puts undue pressure on Government Contractors driving up their operating costs, and the cost of the goods and services they provide. The United States Chamber of Commerce is looking into lawsuits stating the President has overstepped his bounds with this order.
This Executive Order Could Help over 300,000 American Workers
While most of the developed nations in the world offer Government workers paid sick leave, in America it has become a partisan issue. The number of workers this order will help is not in debate. With this order, the President has set in motion the means for over 300,000 workers to receive paid sick leave. It is estimated that over 44 million Americans do not enjoy the benefit of paid sick leave.
The President Hopes Executive Order Will Be The First Step in Better Quality of Life For American Workers
With experts saying the gap between the lowest and the highest paid workers in America at an all-time high, the President is hoping to use his powers to help close the gap. Benefits like paid sick leave and a higher minimum wage are what can help bring the American worker back to the forefront and help to close the wage gap. The hope is that the cost of implementing the new rule will be offset by the ability to retain employees that the new rules will provide.
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President Obama asks Congress to Pass the Healthy Families Act
Following his Executive Order granting paid sick leave, President Obama has asked Congress to pass the Healthy Families Act. The Healthy Families Act would make it so businesses with over 15 employees the work at least 20 weeks a year offer paid sick leave to employees. The act was sponsored by Rep. DeLauro Rosa (D-Connecticut) in 2013. In 2014, the bill was referred to the House Subcommittee on Workforce Protections.
The President Feels the Order Will Improve the Well-Being of Employees
The President stated that this order will “improve the health and performance of Employees of Federal contractors in line with benefits packages of model employers, ensuring they remain competitive employers in the search for dedicated and talented employees. Obama also states that “Contractors shouldn’t have to decide between a paycheck and taking care of a sick child.”
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