DOL Final Rule on Contractor Paid Sick Leave

The U.S. Labor Department today filled in the details of the paid sick leave requirement of an executive order President Obama issued last year requiring that federal contractors extend paid sick leave to their workers.

Executive Order 13706, signed a little more than a year ago, requires that government contractors offer employees up to seven paid days of sick leave each year.

Employees would earn one hour of leave for every 30 hours worked, with a maximum of 7 days a year. Eligible workers could use their paid leave if they are sick or are caring for a sick relative. The leave also could be used for absences resulting from domestic violence or sexual assault.

According to the DOL press release, when fully implemented, the final rule:

  • Provides up to 56 hours of paid sick leave per year to an estimated 1.15 million employees of federal contractors, including an estimated 594,000 employees who currently receive no paid sick leave.
  • Ensures that employers have choices in how to best adapt the paid sick leave requirement to their businesses. For example, employers can choose to allow workers to accrue leave over time, or to frontload leave for ease of administration.
  • Includes flexibilities related to integration with employers’ existing paid time off policies and leave provisions in existing collective bargaining agreements.
  • Improves the health and performance of employees of covered federal contractors and brings benefits packages offered by those federal contractors in line with leading firms, ensuring they remain competitive in the search for dedicated and talented employees.
  • Protects the public health by ensuring that covered federal contractors’ employees, customers and clients are able to stay home when they are sick.

The final rule applies to all covered contracts solicited and awarded on or after Jan. 1, 2017.

Interesting side note to this development: Labor Secretary Tom Perez blogged today making the case for mandatory paid sick leave for workers on federal contracts.

He received two comments, one by a supporter who thinks that all employers should have to provide paid sick leave–not just federal contractors–the other an opponent who said she saved her earned paid time off when she was raising her children for those days when she needed to be out from work. “FMLA and other leave is designed for situations when you need to take leave and protect your job. I am not in favor of mandatory paid leave. Bankrupting small employers is not the solution,” she wrote.

Interesting point-counterpoint.

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