Obama calls for paid sick leave for workers

President Barack Obama plans to sign a memorandum ordering that federal employees have access to at least six weeks of paid leave when a child arrives in their family, and he also is urging Congress to extend greater family-leave benefits to its workers and to millions of other Americans.

Obama will call on lawmakers to pass a bill allowing Americans to earn up to seven days a year of paid sick time, senior adviser Valerie Jarrett announced Wednesday.

About 43 million private-sector employees have no form of paid sick leave, and only California, New Jersey and Rhode Island offer paid family and medical leave, Jarrett wrote in a post on LinkedIn.

“The United States remains the only developed country in the world that does not offer paid maternity leave,” she wrote.

Obama is expected to promote the plan Thursday as he travels to Baltimore to meet with Democratic lawmakers. He will call on Congress to pass the Healthy Families Act, which would allow millions of workers to get seven days of paid sick time, Jarrett said. He also will urge states and cities to pass similar measures.

The Healthy Families Act would require employers with 15 or more workers to allow them to earn up to seven days of paid leave, or at least one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked. Under the law, the time could be used for personal medical care, to care for children or other relatives, or to deal with medical or legal issues related to domestic abuse.

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