Federal contractors take notice: on Labor Day 2015, in a display of solidarity with workers and organized labor, President Barack Obama signed an executive order requiring paid sick leave for employees of federal government contractors. By some estimates, the executive order is likely to affect more than 300,000 employees of federal contractors who presently receive no paid leave benefits. The executive order, which will take effect in 2017, mandates that employees who work on federal contracts receive one hour of paid leave for every 30 hours worked. That works out to about seven days of paid leave per year for the average worker.
Predictably, the executive order, which President Obama was to have signed at a breakfast gathering of the Greater Boston Labor Council, is being applauded by organized labor groups. The executive order is the latest move by President Obama to expand entitlements and protections for federal contract workers. With other recent executive orders, he raised the minimum wage, expanded the availability of overtime for federal contract employees and expanded employee protections against discrimination to include sexual orientation and gender identity.