Executive Order Requires Federal Contractors to Provide Paid Sick Leave

On Labor Day, President Obama signed a new executive order requiring paid sick leave for employees of federal contractors. Workers must earn at least one hour of paid sick leave per every 30 hours worked, and employers may set a limit for the accrual at no less than 56 hours. Paid sick leave can be used for:

  • physical or mental illness, injury, or medical conditions;
  • 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 who has any of the conditions outlined in the Executive Order;
  • domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, for specified purposes.

Under the Executive Order, paid sick leave carries over from one year to the next. Employers are not required to pay employees for accrued but unused paid sick leave upon separation from employment; however, employees who separate but are rehired within 12 months will have their paid sick leave balances restored. The Executive Order does not prohibit employers from offering a more generous paid-leave plan.

Employers must provide paid sick leave to employees upon verbal or written request. Employers can require seven calendar days advance notice when the need for leave is foreseeable as well as certification of the need for leave if the leave is for three or more consecutive workdays. Employees must provide certification within 30 days of the first day of the leave.

Paid sick leave, as required by this order, does not count as a credit toward prevailing wage or fringe benefit obligations under the Service Contract Act or Davis-Bacon Act.

Regulations to implement this Order are expected by September 1, 2016, and the requirements become effective on January 1, 2017. The White House has also published a fact sheet.

While the Executive Order will not become effective for quite some time, employers with federal contracts or aspirations thereto should be planning to provide paid sick leave to their employees.

Contact MSEC with any questions.