Family Values @ Work

Family Values @ Work Praises Final Rule Requiring Paid Sick Days for Employees of Federal Contractors

Family Values @ Work Praises Final Rule Requiring Paid Sick Days for Employees of Federal Contractors

September 29, 2016

Family Values @ Work, a national network of coalitions in 24 states, hails the final step in the process of enacting President Obama’s executive order guaranteeing paid sick days for employees doing work on federal contracts. Ellen Bravo, executive director of Family Values @ Work and one of the nation’s leading experts on paid sick days and paid family leave policies, released the following statement:

“Family Values @ Work applauds the Department of Labor for its work reviewing thousands of comments on President Obama’s executive order and finalizing the rule to ensure employees working on federal contracts can earn at least seven paid sick days per year. This rule continues the tremendous momentum on paid sick days and will improve the lives of 1.15 million people, including nearly 600,000 employees working for federal contractors or sub-contractors who do not now earn a single paid sick day — forcing many of them to choose between paying their bills and caring for themselves or their loved ones.

“We are especially proud of the work of Family Values @ Work member groups and partners in winning paid sick days in 37 locations to date — 5 states, 1 county and 31 municipalities. Once all the laws are implemented, more than 11.5 million workers will newly gain access to paid sick days. Millions more will be able to use the time they already earned to care for a sick family member. Like federal contract employees, they are protected from retaliation for using this time.”Recent figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics document the impact of these wins. As the Department of Labor notes in its announcement today, ‘access to paid sick leave has increased from 61 to 64 percent over the past year.  Furthermore, this increase was driven almost entirely by increased access in low-wage jobs: in just one year, the share of workers in the lowest-paid quarter of occupations that had access to paid sick leave jumped from 31 to 39 percent.’

“This action by DOL helps set an example for the rest of the country. Such a move is precisely the government’s role: to create model standards for the rest of the country to follow and to make sure taxpayer dollars are used wisely. We also applaud the President’s call on Congress to pass the Healthy Families Act to create a national standard of paid sick days.

“There is definitive evidence from existing paid sick days laws that shows such measures help working people maintain a living income and stable employment, ultimately boosting the health and well-being of American families and the nation. Guaranteeing affordable and accessible paid sick days for all Americans—including time to recover from routine illnesses and receive preventative care—is way past due.”

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