Obama orders government contractors to offer paid sick leave

Daily News Article - September 9, 2015


1. What is an executive order? (Read about Executive orders under “Background” below.)

2. What executive order did President Obama sign on Monday? Be specific.

3. In addition to sick leave for government contractors, what employee benefits would President Obama like to mandate?

4. What will the mandated (required by law) paid sick leave cost contractors who work for the federal government?

5. Readers responded to this Reuters article with similar comments:

a) Do you agree with these assertions? Explain your answer.
b) Ask a parent the same question.

6. a) Do you think Congress should pass laws requiring (mandating) all business owners to give their employees a certain amount of paid sick leave and paid family/maternity leave, as well as require employers to increase the minimum wage they pay employees? Explain your answer.
b) Ask a parent the same question.
c) Generally Democrats believe the government should make such laws. Some argue that even conservatives in Europe support these types of measures. Do you support the argument that the U.S. should model our laws on European laws? Explain your answer.

7.  From a commentary at nj .com:

As a former small-business owner, I can safely say that each of these policies (mandatory paid family leave, paid sick leave, an increase in mandatory minimum wage), while well-intentioned, ultimately drives up costs for small businesses, which can harm employees and endanger a business’ existence.

It’s important to understand that government mandates such as the paid sick leave bill disproportionately affect small businesses. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most large businesses already provide paid sick leave. However, only 52 percent of small businesses provide such a benefit. Considering that 89.8 percent of all businesses have fewer than 20 employees, this is a massive gap.

So why does it exist? Simple: Small businesses don’t have the same profit margins as multinational corporations. Most are constantly teetering on the edge of profitability - and 80 percent fail in their first 18 months. Given this reality, small businesses can’t always offer the most generous benefits.

What do you think of this explanation?