Obama demands action on sick leave policies
The same day he signed an executive order expanding sick leave for federal contractors, President Obama called on Congress to do the same for all Americans.
In a Labor Day speech in Boston on Monday, Obama said Congress should pass legislation mandating paid leave for private sector workers so they can care for a new child or for family members with a serious illness.
“I’m calling on Congress: take a cue from the rest of the world, work together in a bipartisan fashion, find a way to make paid family and medical leave a reality for all Americans,” he said. “That’s something we should be doing. It’s past time to do it. It’ll be good for business, not bad for business.”
Obama said lawmakers should also look to expand paid sick leave for workers, something he ordered for more than 300,000 employees of federal contractors earlier Monday.
Under the order, workers will be able to take time off to care for themselves or loved ones who are sick, according to the administration.
Obama said his executive action, which mandates federal contractors give workers the chance to earn up to seven sick days per year, is all that he can do on the matter without Congress stepping in.
“Unfortunately, only Congress has the power to give this security to all Americans, but where I can act, I will,” he said. “And by the way, I just did.”
Obama has made a major push to expand workers’ rights this year, but lawmakers have mostly ignored the effort. In the place of legislation, Obama has issued an executive action to increase the minimum wage for federal contractors and proposed a Labor Department rule to extend overtime requirements for workers.
In his Labor Day speech, Obama praised unions and the labor movement for protecting workers and expanding their rights.
“If I were looking for a good job that lets me build security for my family, I’d join a union,” Obama said. “If I wanted somebody who had my back, I’d join a union.”
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