This week’s post is brought to us by Peter Dagostine, our colleague in Robinson+Cole’s Labor, Employment, Benefits + Immigration Group.

President Obama signed an Executive Order, on Labor Day earlier this week, requiring federal contractors and subcontractors to provide employees with up to seven days or more of paid sick leave per year.

Employer Requirements

  • Covered federal contractors must allow employees to earn not less than one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked, and federal contractors may not limit the total accrual of paid sick leave to less than 56 hours.
  • Federal contractors must allow employees to carry over unused sick leave from year to year, and reinstate any unused sick time for an employee rehired within 12 months after job separation.
  • The Executive Order does not require federal contractors to pay out unused sick leave.

Employee Rights

Employees may use the paid sick leave for the following reasons:

  1. Physical or mental illness, injury or medical condition
  2. Obtaining diagnosis, care or preventive care from a health care provider
  3. Caring for a child, parent, spouse, domestic partner, or any other individual related by blood or affinity whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship for purposes of (1) or (2) above
  4. If a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking, for purposes of (1) or (2) above, to obtain additional counseling, seek relocation, seek assistance from legal services organizations, to take legal action or to assist an individual described in (3) above

Requirements for Using Paid Sick Leave

  • In the event an employee knows they will need to take sick leave in advance, they must provide at least seven calendar days’ notice; if they don’t, they must provide notice as soon as practicable.
  • A federal contractor may not seek certification or supporting documentation unless the employee is absent for three or more consecutive workdays.
  • The Executive Order prohibits federal contractors from interfering with an employee’s exercise of rights under the Executive Order or discriminating against employees for exercising these rights.

The Secretary of Labor has been instructed to announce regulations regarding the scope and provisions of the Executive Order by September 30, 2016. The targeted start date of the paid sick leave requirements is January 1, 2017.

We will keep you updated on the status of these regulations, which federal contracts may be affected, and the interaction with other leave laws and contractual requirements.