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Obama orders companies to pay sick leave

President Obama

President Obama, with Labor Day as a backdrop, breathed life into a new executive order that mandates all companies doing business with the federal government provide seven days of paid sick leave per employee per year.

Obama planned to make the deal officials in a Monday meeting with labor leaders in Boston.

Republican critics called the move an overreach of executive authority, the Los Angeles Times reported.

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But White House economists said the action will actually bolster productivity because wages and salaries have stayed mostly stagnant. They also say the Obama order would have a trickle-down effect and pressure congressional lawmakers to put in place many of Obama’s desired improvements for workers.

“We have to do better,” said White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett, in a conference call with reporters, the Los Angeles Times said. “We can do better. While we’re waiting for Congress to do their job, President Obama is doing what he can.”

The specifics of the order call on companies with federal contracts to give workers the ability to accrue seven days of paid sick leave per year. The action is estimated to provide for 300,000 or so workers.

The paid benefit will start in 2017.