Federal procurement laws require the government to purchase goods and services only from responsible contractors. The Center for American Progress and the National Employment Law Project recently issued a series of reports calling on the federal government to prescreen prospective contractors to ensure that they offer basic benefits and comply with existing labor laws and to evaluate whether contracting companies offer workplace benefits that provide workers with decent wages and living standards in order to retain a healthy and steady federal contracting workforce. NELP specifically recommends that the federal government consider whether contractors offer the following benefits when awarding contracts to responsible contractors: living wages, health benefits, and paid sick days.
These recommendations are a good start for workers that need stable wages and benefits in place, but the federal government should not stop there. To ensure that our workplace benefits truly respond to the federal contracting workforce of today, the federal government should also reward contractors that offer:
- Paid sick days to care for an ill family member.
- Job-protected unpaid leave for contractors not covered by the FMLA.
- Paid family leave.
- Child and elder care subsidies.
- Flexible and predictable work schedules.
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