Regulatory Update

Administration Issues Another Executive Order Affecting Federal Contractors - This Time Mandating Paid Sick Leave

Sep 11, 2015
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Over the Labor Day holiday, President Obama announced his latest executive order billed as part of a package of executive branch initiatives that the Administration says are “helping middle-class families get ahead.” The executive order creates a sick leave mandate for federal contractors.

In brief, the order requires that contractors:

  1. Provide that "all employees involved in the contract or any subcontract earn “not less than one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked”;
  2. Must not set a limit on the total accrual of paid sick leave per year, or at any point in time, at less than 56 hours;
  3. Allow paid sick leave to be used for an absence resulting from:
    • medical treatment;
    • 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;
    • domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. This provision includes time off for medical help, to obtain additional counseling, to seek relocation, to seek assistance from a victim services organization, to take related legal action, including preparation for or participation in any related civil or criminal legal proceeding for self or anyone in that family-type relationship.
  4. Provide accrued leave that carries over from one year to the next and shall be reinstated for employees rehired by a covered contractor within 12 months after a job separation;
  5. Ensure that they will not make use contingent on the employee finding a replacement; and
  6. Allow leave based on the oral or written request of employee requested as soon as practicable.

The Administration contends in the executive order that, “providing access to paid sick leave will improve the health and performance of employees of Federal contractors and bring benefits packages at Federal contractors in line with model employers, ensuring that they remain competitive employers in the search for dedicated and talented employees. These savings and quality improvements will lead to improved economy and efficiency in Government procurement.” The order, a fact sheet on which was released by the White House, calls for the Secretary of Labor to issue implementing regulations by September 30, 2016.

SHRM believes that the United States must have a 21st century workplace flexibility policy that meets the needs of both employers and employees. Rather than a one-size-fits-all government mandate as found in this executive order, policy proposals should accommodate varying work environments, employee representation, industries and organizational size.

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