WASHINGTON, Oct. 1 (UPI) — U.S President Barack Obama urged congress to pass further legislation to provide paid sick leave, which he called a “must-have,” for American workers.
During his weekly address President Obama outlined the importance of paid sick leave in modern households, which feature two working parents in many cases.
“Today, having both parents in the workforce is an economic necessity for many families,” he said. “But right now, millions of Americans don’t have access to even a single day of paid sick leave. So if you get sick, that sticks you with a lousy choice.”
His comments came two days after the U.S. Labor Department finalized rulesrequiring federal government contractors to provide sick leave for up to seven days per year.
“Effective on January 1st, federal contractors will be required to give their employees working on new federal contracts up to seven paid sick days each year. That’s happening,” Obama said. “It will help about one million workers when they or a loved one gets sick.”
He added the mandate will also cover absences resulting from domestic violence or sexual assault.
According to the White House, a record share of private sector workers now have access to paid sick leave but nearly 600,000 employees do not currently have even a single day of paid sick leave.
“Paid sick leave isn’t a side issue, or a women’s issue, or something that’s just nice to have. It’s a must-have,” Obama said.