Weekly Address: President Obama – It’s Time to Give Families Access to Paid Sick Leave

The President’s Weekly Address post is also an Open News Thread. Feel free to share other news stories in the comments.

From the White HouseWeekly Address

In this week’s address, President Obama discussed the importance of ensuring that American families have access to paid leave. Today, millions of Americans do not have access to paid sick leave and have to face tough choices when their families face illness – choices that could risk their jobs or their health. The President has repeatedly called on Republicans in Congress to pass a law guaranteeing most workers the chance to earn seven days of paid sick leave each year. To this day, no action has been taken in the Republican Congress. But, that hasn’t stopped the President from taking action where he can to help more Americans access paid sick time, and starting January 1st, federal contractors will be required to give their employees working on new federal contracts up to seven paid sick days each year. That’s because paid leave isn’t something that just nice to have – it’s a must have.

Transcript: Weekly Address: It’s Time to Give Families Access to Paid Sick Leave

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address, The White House, October 1, 2016

There are a couple different stories you can tell about our economy.

One goes like this. Eight years after the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes, our economy has created jobs for 71 straight months. That’s a new record. Unemployment has fallen below five percent. Last year, the typical household saw its income grow by about twenty-eight hundred dollars – the biggest one-year increase ever. And the uninsured rate is at an all-time low.

All that is true. What’s also true is that too much of our wealth is still taken by the top – and that leaves too many families still working paycheck to paycheck, without a lot of breathing room.

There are two things we can do about this. We can prey on people’s worries for political gain. Or we can actually do something to help working families feel more secure in today’s economy.

Count me in the latter camp. And here’s one thing that will help right away: making sure more of our families have access to paid leave.

Today, having both parents in the workforce is an economic necessity for many families. But right now, millions of Americans don’t have access to even a single day of paid sick leave. So if you get sick, that sticks you with a lousy choice. Do you go to work and get everyone else sick, too? Or do you take care of yourself at the risk of a paycheck? If your kid gets sick, do you send her to school anyway? Or do you stay home to take care of her, lose a day’s pay, and maybe even put your own job at risk?

We shouldn’t have to make choices like that in America. That’s why I’ve repeatedly called on the Republican Congress to pass a law guaranteeing most workers in America the chance to earn seven days of paid sick leave each year. Of course, Congress hasn’t acted. But we’ve also worked with states, cities, and businesses to get the job done – and many have, pointing to research showing that paid leave actually helps their bottom line. In fact, since I took office, another ten million private sector workers have gained paid sick leave – making up a record share of our workforce.

Unfortunately, there are still about 40 million private sector workers who don’t get a single day. That’s why I’m doing what I can on my own. Effective on January 1st, federal contractors will be required to give their employees working on new federal contracts up to seven paid sick days each year. That’s happening. It will help about one million workers when they or a loved one gets sick. It will cover time you need for preventive care. It will cover absences resulting from domestic violence or sexual assault. And it means everyone else is less likely to catch what someone else has got – whether it’s a coworker or the person preparing or serving your food.

Paid sick leave isn’t a side issue, or a women’s issue, or something that’s just nice to have. It’s a must-have. By the way, so are economic priorities like child care, paid family leave, equal pay, and a higher minimum wage. We need a Congress that will act on all these issues, too, because they’d make a meaningful difference in the lives of millions of Americans who are working hard every day. It’s more than talk – it’s action. And that’s what you should demand of every politician who wants the privilege to serve you.

Thanks, and have a great weekend.

Bolding added.

~

  4 comments for “Weekly Address: President Obama – It’s Time to Give Families Access to Paid Sick Leave

  1. JanF
    October 1, 2016 at 8:29 am

    President Obama:

    Eight years after the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes, our economy has created jobs for 71 straight months. That’s a new record. Unemployment has fallen below five percent. Last year, the typical household saw its income grow by about twenty-eight hundred dollars – the biggest one-year increase ever. And the uninsured rate is at an all-time low.

    All that is true. What’s also true is that too much of our wealth is still taken by the top – and that leaves too many families still working paycheck to paycheck, without a lot of breathing room.

    There are two things we can do about this. We can prey on people’s worries for political gain. Or we can actually do something to help working families feel more secure in today’s economy.

    Gosh, who could he be talking about? Who would “prey on people’s worries for political gain”????

    Let’s put another adult in the White House in 2017 and give her a Congress that will work to help working families.

  2. JanF
    October 1, 2016 at 8:38 am

    President Obama was in Israel on Friday paying his respects at the funeral of former Israeli President Shimon Peres.

    Transcript: Remarks by President Obama at Memorial Service for Former Israeli President Shimon Peres

    Shimon could be true to his convictions even if they cut against the grain of current opinion. He knew, better than the cynic, that if you look out over the arc of history, human beings should be filled not with fear but with hope. Even in the face of terrorist attacks, even after repeated disappointments at the negotiation table, he insisted that as human beings, Palestinians must be seen as equal in dignity to Jews, and must therefore be equal in self-determination. Because of his sense of justice, his analysis of Israel’s security, his understanding of Israel’s meaning, he believed that the Zionist idea would be best protected when Palestinians, too, had a state of their own. […]

    Shimon’s story, the story of Israel, the experience of the Jewish people, I believe it is universal. It’s the story of a people who, over so many centuries in the wilderness, never gave up on that basic human longing to return home. It’s the story of a people who suffered the boot of oppression and the shutting of the gas chamber’s door, and yet never gave up on a belief in goodness. And it’s the story of a man who was counted on, and then often counted out, again and again, and who never lost hope.

  3. JanF
    October 1, 2016 at 10:13 am

    From the NY Times: The Supreme Court vs The American Voter

    Who Gets to Vote?

  4. JanF
    October 1, 2016 at 10:38 am

    Hillary Clinton campaigns in Fort Pierce FL and introduces her national service plan:

    The National Service Reserve: A New Vehicle for Young Americans to Serve Their Communities

    The generation coming of age today has already changed our politics and our country. From racial justice and marriage equality to economic opportunity and climate change, they have put the key issues of our time at the top of the national agenda. Hillary Clinton believes we must do more to support their activism and create pathways for young Americans to serve and to lead. This is the generation that will break down all of the barriers and build ladders of opportunity.

    That is why today Hillary Clinton is announcing her plan to create a National Service Reserve to engage 5 million Americans, with a special focus on people between the ages of 18 and 30, in service to their communities and their country. This plan is built on her core commitment to expand AmeriCorps to 250,000 members annually as called for in the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act. As we seek to do more for our citizens, we need to ask more of them as well.

    The Reserve will provide a vehicle for that sense of social impact and civic ownership, bringing Americans from all backgrounds together in common cause to make a difference where they live.

    Influential Leaders Praise Hillary Clinton’s New National Service Plan

    “I’m heartened by Secretary Clinton’s commitment to expand service opportunities in America, including her pledge to fulfill the promise of the bipartisan Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act and expand AmeriCorps to 250,000 positions. My husband believed deeply in the importance of service and its positive impact on our communities and our country. Every American who wants to serve should have the chance to do so. I know that Secretary Clinton, who has made this cause a priority throughout her life, will work to achieve that goal as president, and I am proud to stand with her.”
    – Victoria “Vicki” Kennedy, Co-Founder and President of the Board of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate

Comments are closed.