10-Point Expert: President Obama’s Executive Order on Paid Sick Leave

Obama Paid Sick Leave

There are a lot of things that the Obama administration and Republicans don’t see eye-to-eye on. This is definitely one of them!


A little lost when it comes to issues of public policy? Felling like this guy? Well relax, we’re here to help. This is 10-Point Expert, a series of articles that examine policies which are currently being introduced to the political landscape, in 10 simple to understand points. For this installment we talk about President Obama’s executive order on sick paid leave!



Point 1: On Monday, Labor Day, President Obama signed an executive order requiring federal contractors to provide paid sick leave for their employees.


Point 2: In the executive order, the federal government along with contractors that do business with them would have to provide at least seven days worth of paid sick leave a year. The plan would begin in 2017 and it will allow around 300,000 government workers to get paid sick leave who don’t already have it.


Point 3: It’s important to remember that this executive order only applies to those working for the federal government as either an employee or contract worker.


Point 4: In his announcement, President Obama said the executive order came to be because he wanted Congress to reconsider its stance on labor conditions for private-sector workers. Particularly President Obama focused on paid sick leave by stating that, “right now, about 40% of private-sector workers, 44 million people in America, don’t have access to paid sick leave… only Congress has the power to give this security to all Americans.”


Point 5: President Obama’s specific stance on paid sick leave is said to come after reports from White House economists had stated that universal implementation of paid sick leave could lead to higher worker productivity.


Point 6: Republicans look at the subject of working wages and benefits very differently than the Obama administration and other Democrats. While Democrats want to set a minimum base standard for wages and benefits, Republicans prefer a more “hands-off” approach allowing the market to set standards through competition.


Point 7: The biggest contention over working wages and benefits come from their varying viewpoints on whether raising minimum base standards actually helps the economy grow overall. Democrats insist that raising the minimum standards would be good for businesses in the long run because the cost of increasing base standards would be outweighed by the employee retention, productivity, and worker satisfaction. Republicans – along with various business groups – tend to disagree with that assessment saying that it would just cost businesses more money, thus slowing down many aspects of the economy.


Point 8: In the past Congress had looked at legislation that sets minimum standards for working wages and other benefits, but nothing was passed. With both the House and the Senate controlled by a GOP Congress, that trend doesn’t look to change.


Point 9: Many political analysts say this was an olive branch to organized labor over the strained relationship the Obama administration has had this year over President Obama’s push for the free-trade agreement in the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal. Most unions were opposed to the TPP deal because it potentially lets many US shipping jobs go overseas.


Point 10: Monday’s announcement also gave a jab to many of the Republican presidential candidates that are currently running in 2016. President Obama criticized the GOP candidates multiple times in his speech saying that they actually have a distorted view of how the economy actually works. This got a good reaction from the crowd of pro-union supporters, since many individuals in the GOP field haven’t been necessarily the kindest to union groups in the past. I’m lookin’ at you Scott Walker!



(Photo Credit: barackobama Instagram)


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