“This is a good day for women and for workers. The Obama administration is once again stepping up where Congress has failed to do so. We are thrilled with the announcement of a new Office of Personnel Management policy that will help prevent the perpetuation of wage discrimination by prohibiting past salary levels from being factored into decisions about wages for those newly hired for federal jobs. This is one important step in reducing pay disparities and leveling the playing field for women and all workers who have suffered from unfair pay practices in the past.
And the reports, albeit preliminary, that the administration may be working on an executive order that would require federal contractors to provide paid sick time is welcome and truly outstanding news. If the reports are accurate, this would mean that millions more workers in this country would be able to get the time they need to recover from common illnesses or care for sick children or relatives; and fewer workers would have to choose between their jobs and their health — between going to work sick and exposing others to illness, and losing pay or their jobs — when the flu, strep throat or other illnesses strike.
More than 43 million private sector workers in the United States cannot earn a single paid sick day, according to new data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, despite strong evidence that paid sick days make good business, health and economic sense. Twenty-four jurisdictions and an increasing number of employers have adopted paid sick days standards on their own, but change is not happening quickly enough and the Healthy Families Act, which would establish a national standard, is stalled in Congress. We applaud the administration for advancing this common sense policy in every way it can.
These measures are huge and very meaningful steps forward for workers, families, our economy and our country. There are 28 million people employed by federal contractors in this country, and more than two million non-postal, civilian workers in the federal government, so these actions will provide substantial and tangible benefits to many workers and families very quickly. The nation owes a debt of thanks to President Obama for taking real action to advance the kind of fair and family friendly workplaces the country has long needed.”