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Executive Order on Paid Sick Leave for Federal Contractors Anticipated Soon

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Expected to be made fully public shortly, the NY Times reported on Wednesday, August 5, 2015, President Obama has allegedly drafted an Executive Order (EO) which would require federal contractors and subcontractors to provide up to 7 days of sick leave each year for their employees working on specific, covered contracts. The law would be effective January 1, 2017.

Covered contracts include: 1) procurement contracts for construction covered by the Davis-Bacon Act; 2) contracts for services covered by the Service Contract Act; 3) contracts for concessions; and 4) contracts entered into with the federal government in connection with federal property lands and related to offering services for federal employees, their dependents, or the general public.

Other highlights “leaked” to the Times which may be part of the EO include:

  • All employees working on covered contracts – exempt and non-exempt – would be entitled to the paid sick leave. Further, subcontractors would be required to provide paid sick leave to any employee performing under the contract.
  • The paid sick leave may be used for: 1) a physical or mental illness, injury, or medical condition; 2) obtaining diagnosis, care or preventative care from a health care provider; 3) caring for a child, parent, spouse, domestic partner, or any individual with the equivalent of a family relationship, who has any of the covered conditions or needs for diagnosis, care or preventative care; or 4) any absences resulting from domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
  • Unused paid sick time accrued must be allowed to carry over from year to year, without any cap on accrual; however, there is no requirement that the accrued or unused sick leave be paid out on termination.
  • Employees must request paid sick time at least 7 calendar days in advance of when the need is foreseeable (planned surgeries, etc.), or in the alternate, as soon as “practicable.”
  • Medical certification for sick leave is required of an employee only if the employee takes three of more consecutive sick days, and certification may be provided to the employer within 30 days of the first day of the leave.
  • There is absolutely no right of retaliation against an employee taking sick leave (which is no different from non-federal contractors.)

This EO is consistent with the Obama Administration’s trend towards imposing more extensive labor protections on federal contractors, including minimum wage and LBGT non-discrimination requirements, all reported to our members in early blogs. These all translate to increased financial and regulatory burdens, and our contractors should keep abreast of the changing laws in the federal contracting arena.

Hilary Atkins

Posted In: Government, Legal

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