On Monday, President Obama unveiled a new executive order to union workers in Boston that will require federal contractors to offer employees up to seven days of paid sick leave.
“Right now, you have parents who have to choose between losing income or staying home with a sick child,” Obama said during his speech at the annual Greater Boston Labor Council breakfast, sponsored by the AFL-CIO.
Under the new executive order, which the White House said could benefit more than 300,000 workers, employees on federal contracts will qualify for paid leave if they are sick or taking care of a sick family member. Workers will earn one hour of leave for every 30 hours worked, with a maximum of seven days a year, officials said. The order will go into effect after Obama leaves office in early 2017.
This isn’t the first time Obama has tried to extend paid leave for workers. In January, he signed a presidential memorandum mandating federal workers take six weeks of advanced paid sick leave to take care of a new child or sick relative. Despite a strong push by the Obama administration to pass the memorandum, proposals for paid sick leave have been ignored by the GOP-controlled Congress.
With the United States being one of a handful of countries that do not offer paid leave, President Obama made note of the need for American workers to be protected in the same way the NFL players association backed Tom Brady, whose four-game suspension by the league was overturned by a federal judge last week.
“Even Brady’s happy he got a union,” Obama jokingly said at the breakfast. “They had his back. You know if Brady needs a union, we definitely need a union.”