President Barack Obama will launch a push Thursday for paid leave for families ahead of his State of the Union address.
Obama will sign a presidential memorandum ensuring that federal employees have access to at least 6 weeks of paid sick leave when a new child arrives, and will propose that Congress offer 6 weeks of paid administrative leave as well.
He’ll also call on Congress to pass the Healthy Families Act, which would allow working Americans to earn up to 7 days a year of paid sick time, and will call on states and cities to pass similar laws. He’ll also outline a plan to help states create paid leave programs and provide funding through the Department of Labor for studies to help states and cities start programs of their own.
Senior adviser Valerie Jarrett announced the plan in a Linked-in post, contending that Obama’s initiatives will “spur action and move us toward our goal of fully supporting and empowering working parents in both their roles as workers and parents.”
The administration has long supported the Healthy Families Act, which mandates that employers grant employees one hour of leave for each 30 hours worked, but Republicans do not.
Politifact in 2011 rated Obama’s promise to require that employers provide seven paid sick days per year – a promise broken and noted that “if the bill could not come to vote during the previous session of Congress, when Democrats held strong majorities in both chambers of Congress, it's even more unlikely to pass through the currently Republican-controlled House of Representatives.”
Now Republicans hold the House and the Senate.
California Gov. Jerry Brown last September signed the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 which provides paid sick days to roughly 40 percent of the state's workforce who do not currently earn the benefit.