The Obama administration is fast at work on an executive order for companies that have contracts with the federal government to issue paid sick leave to employees who are sick, seeking medical help, or need to care for a loved one. This order will apply to federal subcontractors as well and is estimated to affect hundreds of thousands of workers.
This is just the latest in a string of executive orders on companies doing business with the federal government. Past executive orders required federal contractors and subcontractors to recognize same-sex marriage, not discriminate against homosexual employees and pay overtime requirements, and raised the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.
The issue of paid sick leave has been brewing among the states the last few years and the President made a note of it in January’s State of the Union address. His order would set a minimum of 56 hours a year (7 days) and cover a wide range allowances. Employees are covered along with caring for a child, parent, spouse, domestic partner, or someone with whom the employee is so close with that the relationship is considered familial. Absences from work that are covered include domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking provided that the time off was used to seek medical attention, counseling, relocation assistance, and preparation for legal proceedings. Unused paid leave must accrue from year to year.