Boston Globe: Obama targets sick time in Boston visit

Ian Pajer-Rogers |

From The Boston Globe:

by Stephanie Ebbert

With Boston as a backdrop and the state’s new earned sick time law as a template, President Obama on Monday announced an executive order requiring federal contractors to offer their employees up to seven paid sick days a year, a move that the White House said could benefit more than 300,000 workers.

The president announced the move at the annual Labor Day breakfast hosted by the Greater Boston Labor Council.

‘‘Right now you have parents who have to choose between losing income or staying home with a sick child,’’ Obama told a crowd of 765 supporters, including many labor union officials.

Aides said he chose Massachusetts in recognition of the sick leave policy approved by ballot initiative last fall and of Boston’s recent decision to provide non-union city employees with six weeks of paid parental leave.

“It’s incredibly positive news for workers and families across the country and we are honored the president will be announcing this initiative here in Massachusetts, where we have had some major victories recently in raising standards for workers,” said Steve Tolman, president of the state AFL-CIO.

The order represents the president’s latest effort to nudge his policies forward by using measures that do not require approval by the gridlocked Congress.

Business groups said Obama’s order would make it harder for small businesses to retain federal contractors and could hinder economic growth.

‘‘Once again President Obama is using the federal procurement system to do something it was never been designed to do: usurp the legislative authority of Congress to determine appropriate workplace policies,’’ said Randy Johnson, senior vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

In his State Of the Union address last January, the president asked Congress to “Send me a bill that gives every worker in America the opportunity to earn seven days of paid sick leave. It’s the right thing to do.”

‘‘We are the only advanced country on Earth that doesn’t guarantee paid sick leave or paid maternity leave to our workers,’’ Obama also said. ‘‘And that forces too many parents to make the gut-wrenching choice between a paycheck and a sick kid at home.’’

Read the full article from The Boston Globe.