DOL Proposed Rule Requiring Paid Sick Leave for Employees of Federal Contractors Has Been Published
On February 25, 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) published its proposed rule implementing Executive Order 13706. EO 13706 was signed by President Obama in September 2015, and it requires certain federal government contractors to provide paid sick leave to employees. Both the EO and DOL proposed rule apply only to government contractors who hold procurement contracts for construction covered by the Davis-Bacon Act, service contracts under the McNamara-O'Hara Service Contract Act, concession contracts, and contracts pertaining to federal property or lands and services.
The White House and the DOL went on to explain “providing access to paid sick leave will improve the health and performance of employees of Federal contractors and bring their benefit packages in line with model employers, ensuring that Federal contractors remain competitive employers” and “will lead to improved economy and efficiency in Government procurement…” The DOL estimates the rule would extend paid sick leave to nearly 437,000 workers. The ultimate impact on contractors and employees remains to be seen, but the proposed rule would impose substantial new obligations on many employers already facing compliance challenges with the growing number of state and local mandates.
The move comes as state and local governments are increasingly enacting paid leave policies. And according to Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez upon announcement of the proposed rule, “President Obama isn't waiting, either. He's using the power of his pen to ensure that companies that do business with the federal government allow their workers to earn up to 7 days of paid sick leave each year, thereby improving the health and performance of their employees – which is good for taxpayers.”
Under EO 13706 and the proposed DOL rule, federal contractors who have these types of contracts will be required to provide employees 1 hour of paid sick leave per 30 hours of work. The employee's paid sick leave time accrues up to 56 hours per year, and the contractor must permit any accrued but unused leave time to carry over to the following year (up to a maximum of 56 hours). Contractors are not required to pay out accrued but unused leave at time of termination. However, if an employee leaves the employ of the contractor and is reemployed within 12 months, his or her accrued and unused sick leave bank must be reinstated.
The sick leave may be used not only for the employee's own illness, but also for the physical or mental illness of his or her children, parents, spouses, or domestic partners. The sick time also may be used for circumstances in which an employee needs leave following an incident of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
Questions about California's Paid Leave Laws?
If you are living in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento, or San Diego and you have questions about paid leave laws, contact Kingsley & Kingsley to speak with one of our experienced lawyers.