President Orders Paid Sick Leave for Employees of Federal Contractors

Employees of federal contractors soon will have some much needed relief when it comes to taking care of their own wellness and providing care for family members with health conditions. Earlier this week Present Obama issued an Executive Order that will entitle employees of federal contractors to earn up to seven paid sick leave days (56 hours) per year.  

Leave may be used as follows:

  • for an employee’s own physical or mental illness, injury, or medical condition, including time off for diagnosis, care, and preventive care from a health care provider
  • to care for a family member with an illness, injury, or medical condition, including time off for diagnosis, care, and preventive care
  • to obtain victim services related to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking
  • covered family members include a child, spouse, parent, domestic partner or other individual related by blood or like relation

Employees may request leave orally or in writing and, if the need for leave is foreseeable, must provide notice seven days in advance of the leave. Employees are also protected from retaliation for requesting or taking leave. The new paid sick leave requirement will apply to federal contracts solicited or awarded on or after January 1, 2017. Regulations to implement the Executive Order are required to be in place by September 30, 2016.

The executive action was one in a series of Executive Orders affecting federal contractors and subcontractors. Other recent Executive Orders include an order raising the minimum wage rate for employees of federal contractors to $10.10 per hour (Executive Order 13658), an order formalizing employees’ right to openly discuss their pay without fear of retaliation from their employers (Executive Order 13665), an order prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity (Executive Order 13672), and an order requiring federal contract awardees to report labor law violations prior to and during the performance of the contract (Executive Order 13673).