Showing solidarity with workers on Labor Day, President Barack Obama will sign an executive order Monday requiring paid sick leave for employees of federal contractors, including 300,000 who currently receive none.
The White House wouldn’t specify the cost to federal contractors to implement the executive order, which Obama was to address at a major union rally and breakfast in Boston. The Labor Department said any costs would be offset by savings that contractors would see as a result of lower attrition rates and increased worker loyalty, but produced nothing to back that up.
Under the executive order, employees working on federal contracts gain the right to a minimum of one hour of paid leave for every 30 hours they work. Stretched out over 12 months, that’s up to seven days per year. The order will allow employees to use the leave to care for sick relatives as well, and will affect contracts starting in 2017 — just as Obama leaves office.
The Obama administration has been working on the executive order for months, and chose Labor Day to announce it as Obama works to enact what policies he can before his presidency ends despite resistance in Congress to laws he’s proposed to improve workplace conditions. That push has reverberated in the 2016 campaign, where Democratic candidates are seeking to draw a distinction with Republicans on who’s most supportive of the middle class.