President Obama Signs Executive Order Mandating Paid Sick Time For U.S. Workers

"We are the only advanced country on Earth that doesn’t guarantee paid sick leave or paid maternity leave to our workers."

According to the White House, more than 40 percent of Americans work at a company that doesn't offer any form of paid sick leave. But that's now going to change. 

President Obama today signed an executive order, mandating federal contractors offer their employees paid sick leave. The order expands on President Obama's choice to expand sick leave to six weeks this January. 

According to the Center for Economic and Policy Research, America is the only country that doesn't provide sick leave to workers undergoing 50-day cancer treatments. It's also only one of the only three countries that doesn't pay employees for missing five days of work because they have the flu. 

The order will also expand other things aside from paid sick leave.

Over 300,000 employees will have the chance to earn a minimum of seven days of paid sick leave each year. They'll be able to use sick time to care for family members, and benefits packages will be updated to make sure they're competitive and fair. 

"The fundamental structure of work has not kept pace with the changing American family, and many families are struggling to balance obligations at home and on the job," wrote the White House. "As a result, too many workers are unable to take the time they need to recover from an illness. Many workers will go to work sick, putting their coworkers and customers at risk of illness. Many parents are forced to choose between taking an unpaid day off work — losing much needed income and potentially threatening their jobs—and sending a sick child who should be home in bed to school."

The new order will hopefully change that and play catch-up to the dozens of other countries who, unlike the U.S., do have fair sick day policies. 

Cover Image: Sal/Flickr