New Executive Order Mandates Sick Pay for Federal Contractors
- September 14, 2015
On September 7, President Obama signed an Executive Order requiring federal contractors to provide employees with a minimum of seven days of paid sick leave per year. The sick pay will be awarded at the rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked. In addition to the employee’s own illness, the leave may be used in order to care for a sick family member, or for dealing with the effects of domestic violence.
The Executive Order applies to new federal contracts issued beginning in 2017. The Department of Labor will issue regulations implementing the sick leave requirement before that date. These rules will need to address issues such as employees’ right to payment of unused leave, leave carry-over from year-to-year, and the employer’s right to medical certification confirming the need to be away from work.
Federal contractors tend to be larger employees more likely to already provide sick leave benefits in excess of the Executive Order’s minimums. In addition, four states already mandate paid sick leave. The Order is intended to set an example for Congress and to set the stage for expansion of this concept to private employers, many of whom do not offer any form of paid sick leave.