A Labor Day to Remember!

by | Sep 7, 2015 | Paid Sick Days

Cross-posted from the National Partnership for Women & Families.

Some of us at the National Partnership are interrupting our family time, picnics and barbeques today to share some very welcome and exciting news. This morning in Boston, President Obama will announce much-needed actions that will make our nation more family friendly.

The president will issue an executive order requiring federal contractors and subcontractors to allow all employees who work on their federal contracts to earn paid sick time. When it takes effect in 2017, an estimated 300,000 more workers will earn paid sick time, and others who work on federal contracts will have access to more paid sick time than they do now.

This executive order is the strongest executive action the president can take to help reduce the appalling number of workers in this country – more than 43 million – who cannot earn a single paid sick day, no matter how many years they hold their jobs. It will mean fewer people go to work when they are contagious, fewer sick children go to day care or school, and fewer seniors miss medical appointments they need – all because their family caregivers cannot afford to lose pay or risk their jobs to provide care. It will mean healthier families and communities, improved public health and a stronger economy. Ultimately, it will add to the growing body of evidence demonstrating that paid sick days are good for workers, businesses and the economy.

This morning, the president will also add his voice to the growing chorus of advocates for women, children, seniors and businesses, leaders of health and medical and faith-based groups, economists and academics who are calling for a national paid family and medical leave program that covers workers when they need longer term time off to care for babies, recover from serious illnesses or care for family members with serious health conditions. The Family And Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act is the legislation that will do that – a bill we champion that was introduced in Congress by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.) and Representative Rosa DeLauro (Conn.). We hope President Obama’s support for a national paid family and medical leave law will increase the pressure on Congress to move this badly needed legislation.

A national paid family and medical leave insurance program that ensures workers have access to paid leave no matter where they live, who they work for or what job they hold is long overdue. The FAMILY Act would create a program that provides all workers with a portion of their wages for up to 12 weeks to address a serious health condition, including pregnancy or childbirth; to deal with the serious health condition of a parent, spouse, domestic partner or child; to care for a new child; and/or for specific military caregiving and leave purposes. It is modeled on tested, successful state programs that work well for both employees and employers, paid for through small employer and employee contributions and deficit-neutral.

The National Partnership has led the effort to advance both of these initiatives for years, and it is thrilling to see the progress that we, our allies and our leaders have helped to create. Thank you, President Obama, for speaking out today about the kinds of change this country’s workers, families and businesses need. Thank you for making this a Labor Day to remember!

Related Resource: Paid Sick Days Lead to Cost Savings for All