This year on Labor Day, President Obama signed an executive order requiring companies who contract with the federal government to provide paid sick leave to their employees. This is the latest executive order in a series of orders designed to better the lives of workers employed by companies that contract with the federal government.  Other executive orders include expanding overtime compensation, raising the minimum wage, and banning discrimination based on sexual orientation.

The Obama administration has encouraged Congress to extend these benefits to all workers, but has been met with resistance. In order to require employers to provide all of their workers with benefits such as higher wages or paid sick leave, Congress has to pass legislation. Rather than wait for Congress to act, the Obama administration has issued orders requiring the federal government and companies who receive federal contracts to abide by new rules that will benefit workers.

The new rules requires companies receiving government contracts to provide one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked by an employee, up to seven paid sick days a year. About 300,000 American employees who are not eligible for any paid sick leave will be affected. Low-wage workers are expected to benefit the most from the order, since they are less likely to receive paid sick leave currently.

Opponents to the executive orders, including the Chamber of Commerce, have claimed that the order oversteps President Obama’s legal authority, and have threatened lawsuits over the executive orders. Administration officials claim that the new rules should not cost businesses a great deal, because higher worker retention rates will offset paying for new benefits. The new rules will take affect beginning in 2017.

According to the White House, roughly 44 million private sector workers do not have access to paid sick leave. Most of those workers are lower-income workers who cannot afford to take time off work. Many workers come to work sick, which can harm other workers and individuals the worker comes into contact with.

In some cases, even when an employer claims to offer certain benefits to employees, the employer fails to fulfill those promises. The employer may promise a week of paid sick time when an employee is hired, but fail to compensate an employee for days the employee misses from work. Employers may also fail to follow federal and state employment laws. Federal and state employment laws offer employees benefits such as minimum wage, overtime compensation, and time off work to care for an ill loved one or after the birth of a new baby. Employers may not want to follow those laws and may look for reasons to terminate an employee who is taking too much time off work, rather than extend benefits that an employee is legally entitled to.

If you believe that your employer is failing to follow federal or state employment laws, you should speak with an employment law attorney. At Liberty Law, Micha Star Liberty believes that all employees should stand up for their legal rights. If you believe that your employer is breaking the law, call Micha Star Liberty, Oakland employment attorney, at 510-645-1000 or 415-896-1000. She works with clients throughout the Oakland-San Francisco area, including Hayward, Fairfield, Tracy, San Jose, Berkeley, and the surrounding areas. You may be entitled to compensation from your employer for damages, including lost wages and benefits, and compensation for emotional damages. Call today to schedule your free consultation. You pay our firm nothing in fees until we obtain a recovery for you.

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