Democrats to Obama: Issue Executive Order on paid sick days

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Patty Murray

Washington – Congressional Democrats are urging President Barack Obama to issue an Executive Order that grants paid sick leave to federal contractors.

Obama is considering issuing such an order that could grant millions of workers paid time off to recuperate from illness or care for sick family members. In an Aug. 10 letter to the president, the Democratic leaders on workplace safety committees suggested the order could do more than just help federal contractors.

“An Executive Order containing such a requirement for federal contractors could help 28 million people and build on the momentum to expand access to paid sick days to workers across the country,” Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Bobby Scott (D-VA) said in the letter.

About 44 million private-sector U.S. workers do not have access to paid sick leave, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Earlier this year, Murray and DeLauro introduced legislation that would require many employers to allow workers to earn up to seven days of paid sick leave every year.

Paying workers to stay home when ill can reduce the spread of contagions in the workplace, boost productivity and lower health care costs, proponents of paid sick leave assert.

Executive Orders have the power of federal law, but can be undone by future presidents.