President Obama is urging Congress to require companies to give employees at least seven days of paid sick leave per year. The president will also push for giving at least six weeks of paid leave to federal employees after the birth or adoption of a child. The white House said that 43 million workers do not have paid sick leave and that the lack of paid sick time causes workers to have trouble recovering from illnesses, or parents to send sick children to school because they are unable to take time off to care for them. A report by the White House Council of Economic Advisers stated that “research shows that paid and unpaid leave can help workers balance obligations at home and in the workplace.” The United States is the only developed country to not offer a government sponsored paid maternity leave, and Obama would like congress to spend $2.2 billion to help states develop paid family leave programs. Opponents of the notion of mandatory sick leave for all believe that the act would lead to lowering of wages in order to compensate for money lost by employers. Studies show, though, that workers who have these benefits tend to remain with their employers longer than workers who do not.
Contributor: Johanna Hartman