Washington, D.C. — Center for American Progress President Neera Tanden issued the following statement on President Barack Obama’s signing of an executive order ensuring that nearly 300,000 workers for federal contractors receive paid sick leave beginning in 2017:
The executive action announced by President Obama today is a significant and critical step in establishing national workplace policies that will put a halt to workers having to choose between their families and their livelihood. The executive order is a commonsense proposal that will support thousands of workers.
The executive order sends an important message about the basic standards that should be available in any workplace. No one should be forced to choose between keeping their job and caring for a sick child or parent or recovering from their own illness. Nor should access to paid sick days be reserved for the highest-paid workers while the lowest-paid workers—who can least afford to lose pay or a job—risk financial ruin. It is time for Congress to enact legislation that provides paid leave to all private- and public-sector workers.
Fast facts on paid leave:
- Nationally, nearly 40 percent of private-sector workers—estimated to be more than 40 million people—do not have access to a single paid sick day.
- 82 percent of high-wage workers have access to paid sick days, but only 14 percent of low-wage workers have access to paid sick days.
- Only 43 percent of Hispanic workers have access to paid leave, compared with 59 percent of whites, 61 percent of African Americans, and 62 percent of Asian Americans.
- Universal paid sick leave would reduce the number of emergency room visits by 1.3 million per year, saving $1.1 billion in medical costs annually.
For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, contact Liz Bartolomeo at email@example.com or 202.481.8151.