President Obama just made a lot of conservative heads explode with this badly needed labor reform.
President Obama will sign an executive order Monday requiring federal contractors to give their employees seven paid sick days a year.
It's the latest in a series of presidential actions on workplace issues, as Obama has taken unilateral action to raise the minimum wage for federal contractors, offer paid paternal leave for federal workers and encourage cities and states to enact similar policies.
Obama will announce the executive order in a Labor Day speech to a labor group in Boston, where the City Council passed an ordinance requiring up to six weeks of parental leave in April.
In all, 21 cities, counties and states have enacted paid leave policies since Obama called for local action in his State of the Union address — a key part of a White House effort to work around Congress on the issue.
That's great for federal employees, but what about the rest of us?
But many of those city ordinances, like Obama's executive orders, apply only to city employees and contractors, leading to big gaps in who's covered. So Obama will renew his call for has taken as he calls on Congress to pass legislation requiring allbusinesses with 15 or moreemployees to offer up to seven paid sick days each year.
Republicans have been lukewarm to that proposal, saying they would burden small businesses that already face too much government regulation.
Lukewarm? They've been outright hostile to the notion that American workers are anything other than lazy losers who aren't working hard enough to be millionaires yet, and those Americans who are in the 1% are the only ones who should count.
No, Republicans have made that very clear, blocking paid leave policies whenever possible, even though American productivity is up almost 250% from 1970. Democrats have introcduced the Healthy Families Act in the last two Congresses, and it never got a vote. Republicans saw to that.
Labor Secretary Tom Perez said the nation's paid leave policy is "stuck in the Leave it to Beaver era."
"You shouldn't have to win the boss lottery to have access to paid leave, just as you shouldn't have to win the geographic lottery in order to get a minimum wage that allows you to feed your family," he told reporters Sunday, previewing the president's executive order.
You would think red state Republicans would actually respond to that message. Sadly, their response is "Well, those people get leave and benefits and I don't. I will do everything I can to take that away from them and maybe my company will let me have them. Any day now."
And they've been waiting for 40 years.