Executive Order Requiring Federal Contractors to Provide Paid Sick Leave Under Consideration

The White House is considering an Executive Order (“EO”) that would require federal contractors to provide paid sick leave to their employees. The tentative “Executive Order Establishing Paid Sick Leave For Contractors,” if issued, would mandate that federal contractors provide their employees up to 56 hours (the equivalent of 7 days) of paid sick leave per year beginning January 1, 2017. Although the EO is qualified as “pre-decisional and deliberative”, the outlook for the directive is favorable. The President has publicly expressed his support of expanding paid sick leave to cover all workers.

Authorized Uses of Paid Sick Leave
Under the draft EO employees of federal contractors would be entitled to paid sick leave to use for:

  • A 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 by close association with the employee equivalent to a family relationship
  • An absence resulting from domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking to obtain related medical care, counseling, victims’ or legal services

 

Accrual and Carryover of Sick Leave
Under the draft proposal, covered employees would accrue 1 hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. Contractors would not be allowed to cap accrual at less than 56 hours per year. In addition, employees would be allowed to carryover all accrued unused sick time to the next year. Unused time need not be paid out at the end of the employment.

Notice and Certification
Employees would be allowed to request leave either verbally or in writing. If possible, employees would need to give seven days notice in advance of the leave. Also, medical certification could be required for paid sick leave lasting three or more consecutive work days.

Retaliation and Interference
Under the proposal, covered employers would be prohibited from interfering with or in any manner discriminating against an employee for taking, or attempting to take, paid sick leave covered by the EO. Additionally, the EO prohibits retaliation against any employee for assisting another employee in asserting his or her rights under the EO.

What’s Next?
There is some evidence to suggest that action on the draft EO is a White House priority. As drafted, the EO would not require detailed regulations until Sept. 30, 2016, and the leave requirements would only apply to specified contracts entered into after January 1, 2017. Contractors would be also required to comply with any federal and state requirements providing greater paid sick time or leave rights.

CPC is tracking this matter. Expect more information to come.

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