(Bloomberg) — About 300,000 workers for U.S. government contractors will gain paid sick leave under an executive order President Barack Obama signed Monday.
Taking the action in Boston on the U.S. Labor Day holiday, Obama signed the order as part of a suite of workplace-related executive orders his administration has issued.
“We are still the only developed country in the world that doesn’t have a paid leave policy, and that needs to change if we want to remain competitive,” Valerie Jarrett, a senior White House adviser, said Sunday on a conference call with reporters.
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The requirement, covering companies including Lockheed Martin Corp. and Boeing Co., the top two government contractors, will apply to new federal contracts starting in 2017. Workers will be able to use the time if they are ill or to care for sick family members.
The White House declined to put a cost or benefit estimate on the mandate, saying only that the administration expects the benefits, including employee retention and increased productivity if sick workers stay home and don’t infect others, to outweigh the costs.