This week, the administration hit federal contractors with a mandate it failed to achieve through congressional action—paid sick leave. This, unfortunately, seems to be the pattern, with a minimum wage mandate as well as the anticipated blacklisting regulation and guidance due out in April. When the administration is unsuccessful with Congress, it turns to the broad authority over federal contractors and pushes mandates onto the backs of those companies that produce essential products and services for the federal government.
For many years, the Healthy Families Act has come up as a proposal when both Democrats and Republicans have controlled Congress and has been repeatedly rejected. The concept has not, as the other side would have you think, been rejected because employers do not want to give their employees time off to care for themselves or their family.
The well-being of employees and their families is one of the top priorities for manufacturers; however, based on the needs of the modern workforce, manufacturers have developed and implemented leave policies that best fit with their own particular business model and production. These policies, such as paid time off or other flexible work arrangements to care for loved ones or themselves without any loss of pay, offer more flexibility.
A one-size-fits-all mandate does not work for every manufacturer, and it will not work for every federal contractor either, especially small businesses. Mandating seven days of paid sick leave does not accomplish the goal of making the workforce better or healthier; rather, it will hinder job growth and productivity.
The bottom line is that with all these mandates placed on federal contractors, the government could be faced with fewer manufacturers willing to enter into the contracting marketplace, which, in turn, will mean higher costs to the taxpayer and lower quality products.
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