Katie O'Brien
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Obama Signs Executive Order Granting Paid Sick Leave

In the spirit of the holiday, President Obama signed an executive order Labor Day granting paid sick leave to workers under federal contractors.

According to The Huffington Post, the order will begin affecting new contracts starting in 2017, allowing employees to accrue one hour of paid leave for every 30 hours of work logged.

As of yesterday, the United States was one of few developed nations that did not guarantee paid sick days to employees, according to The Huffington Post. Labor rights have remained one of the cornerstones of Obama’s two terms, from raising the minimum wage to now, giving laborers paid days off.

"Many parents are forced to choose between taking an unpaid day off work -- losing much needed income and potentially threatening their jobs -- and sending a sick child who should be home in bed to school," a White House statement read, according to The Huffington Post.

Previously, Democrats attempted to pass more liberal labor laws and policies, however, were never able to pass legislation through because of the Republican Congressional majority. President Obama issuing an executive order was the most quick and efficient way for a law of this nature to go through.

In the end, paid sick boils down to an issue of human rights. As the White House Statement explained, taking a day off or not most often leaves parents weighing sending sick children to school and forfeiting a day of pay.

Neither of these options is acceptable, with most of workers in the United States without paid sick leave being low-wage workers in the retail and restaurant industries, The Huffington Post reported. Most of the jobs pay hourly, leaving families with children particularly to suffer when parents must forego the workday to take care of sick kids.

Families should not have to decide whether to have money to feed children or to send them to school sick. With the federal minimum wage set at only $10.10 per hour (a recent improvement that still leaves families in poverty), a few days that be taken off without reprimand are well-deserved and much needed.

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*This is editorial content and expresses the opinion of the author.