How fitting that on Labor Day, a day celebrating the contributions and achievements of American Workers, the White House should formally announce the President's signing of the Executive Order: Establishing Paid Sick Leave for Federal Contractors. This announcement should come as no surprise - in a blog post about a month ago, we advised readers to expect this after the New York Times first broke the story that a draft EO was in the works.
The highlights and more significant requirements of this Executive Order are:
- The EO takes effect January 1, 2017 and applies to both Prime Contractors as well as their Subcontractors (this will occur by way of a flowdown clause).
- Employees (in the performance of the contract or subcontract) shall earn 1 paid hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked and are guaranteed a minimum of 7 days per year in paid sick leave.
- Paid sick leave under this order can be used for: (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, a parent, a spouse, a domestic partner, or any other individual related by blood or affinity whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship who has any of the conditions or needs for diagnosis, care, or preventive care described above; (4) domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, if the time absent from work is for the purposes otherwise described above, to obtain counseling, to seek relocation, to seek assistance from a victims services organization, or to take related legal action.
- Paid sick leave can be carried over from one year to the next and shall be reinstated for employees rehired by a contractor within 12 months after a job separation.
- The use of paid sick leave cannot be made contingent on the employee finding a replacement to cover any work time to be missed.
- Paid sick leave shall be provided upon the oral or written request of the employee (including anticipated duration) at least 7 calendar days in advance when foreseeable, but in other cases as soon as is practicable.
- Employers can only require certification for paid sick leave for the purposes listed in (1) - (3) above for absences of 3 or more consecutive days, to be provided no later than 30 days from the first day of the leave.
- Employers will not be required to "pay out" accrued sick leave to employees upon separation or termination from employment.
- For those of you with Davis Bacon Act and Service Contract Act employees, you should be aware that paid sick leave required under the EO is in addition to existing obligations under those acts and cannot be credited toward fringe benefit obligations.
Contractors that have existing policies will satisfy the requirements of this EO provided the amount of leave is sufficient to meet the requirements of the EO and if the leave can be used for the purposes and under the same conditions outlined in the EO. Contractors should note that this EO does not take effect until January 1, 2017; however, we definitely recommend that in anticipation of the effective date, you take a look at your existing leave policies and make any necessary adjustments well in advance of the effective date.
If you have any questions about the Executive Order and/or whether your existing policies comply with the Executive Order, please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org or (808) 369-9710.