Federal agencies Worker health and wellness

Obama grants paid sick leave to federal contract workers

Pres. Obama-1

Photo: Department of Labor

Washington – With a stroke of a pen on Labor Day, about 300,000 federal contract workers gained access to paid sick leave.

President Barack Obama signed an Executive Order on Sept. 7 requiring federal contractors to provide their workers with the right to accrue at least one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked – up to seven days a year.

Workers may use the paid leave for themselves when sick; for caring for an ill family member; or for absences resulting from domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking.

The paid sick leave Executive Order will improve workers’ health and performance, states a White House fact sheet. This claim is echoed by other paid sick day advocates, including the National Partnership for Women & Families, which has long championed universal paid sick leave.

In signing the Executive Order, Obama also called on Congress to pass the Healthy Families Act, legislation that would expand paid sick leave guarantees to most working Americans. Democrats introduced the bill in both the House (H.R. 932) and Senate (S. 479) earlier this year, but it has not moved forward under a Republican-dominated Congress.