Labor Day: Obama in Boston to announce paid sick leave for government contractors

White House says US is only developed country without paid leave policy

Click to follow
The Independent US

President Barack Obama is marking America’s Labor Day holiday in Boston by signing an executive order requiring government contractors to offer seven days of paid sick leave a year to their workers.

Senior White House adviser Valerie Jarrett told reporters on a conference call on Sunday that the United States was the only developed country that did not have a paid leave policy and that the executive order would benefit about 300,000 people working on government contracts.

“Everyday, the president sees the pressing need for policies to support working families,” Ms Jarrett said, according to Reuters.

“There are letters that come his way from hardworking Americans, who live everyday with the anxiety that comes from being one ailment or one injury away from losing a job, losing their livelihood and ability to look after their families.”

Starting in 2017, workers on government contracts will earn a minimum of one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. Contractors can offer more generous amounts at their discretion.

The requirement, covering companies including Lockheed Martin Corp and Boeing Co, the top two government contractors, will apply to new federal contracts starting in 2017. Workers will be able to use the time if they are ill or to care for sick family members.

The executive order follows a series of measures by the White House to expand access to paid leave. In January, Mr Obama issued a Presidential Memorandum directing the government to advance up to six weeks of paid sick leave for the birth or adoption of a child, or for other sick-leave eligible uses.