New Executive Order Establishes Paid Sick Leave for Federal Contractor Employees

Sick Leave Federal ContractorOn Labor Day last week, President Barack Obama signed an Executive Order establishing paid sick leave for employees of Federal contractors. Under this Executive Order, certain Federal contractors will be required to provide to their employees up to 7 days of paid sick leave per year. Federal contractors performing procurement contracts for services or construction will be required to follow this Executive Order. The paid sick leave requirement will become effective as of January 1, 2017.

Contractors and subcontractors performing procurement contracts for construction will be required to provide 1 hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked for “all employees.” This means it will apply to both full-time and part-time employees. Contractors and any subcontractors will be required to include a clause into their lower-tier subcontracts specifically stating the paid sick leave obligations for their employees.

If an employee earns paid sick leave hours but elects not to use those hours in a given year, the Executive Order allows the paid sick leave hours to be carried over to future years. A contractor may not limit the number of carryover hours an employee uses in a year to less than 56 hours. Further, if an employee stops working for the contractor but is then rehired by the same contractor within 12 months, the carryover hours accrued by the employee must be reinstated. The Executive Order specifically states that a contractor is not required to payout unused sick leave hours when an employee leaves the employment of the contractor.

An employee may use the paid sick leave hours for the following reasons:

  • physical or mental illness, injury, or medical condition;
  • obtaining diagnosis, care, or preventive care from a health care provider;
  • caring for a child, a parent, a spouse, a domestic partner, or any other individual related by blood or affinity whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship
  • counseling, seeking relocation, seeking assistance from a victim services organization, and legal proceedings related to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking

The paid sick leave shall be provided by the contractor upon the oral or written request of the employee made 7 days in advance, if the need for leave is foreseeable. If the leave is not foreseeable, the notice shall be provided “as soon as is practicable.”

Under this Executive Order, a contractor is not permitted to ask for medical documentation unless the employee using paid sick leave is absent for 3 or more consecutive days.

We expect he implementing regulations necessary to carry out this Executive Order to be issued by September 30, 2016. We will have a better understanding of the implementation and application of this Executive Order after the Department of Labor publishes the regulations.

The White House explained the need for this Executive Order in this press release.

Photo: Diógenes

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