Time for federal contractors to meet new paid leave requirements

by H. Juanita M. Beecher

Contractors entering into federal contracts on or after January 1, 2017, must comply with the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) new regulations requiring them to provide workers 56 hours of paid sick leave a year.

The regulations implement President Barack Obama’s Executive Order 13706, which was issued on September 7, 2015. The coverage provisions are the same as those for the $10.10 hourly minimum wage requirements for federal contractors. Employees whose wages are governed by the Davis-Bacon Act, the Service Contract Act, or the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) are also covered.

Contractors must provide 56 hours of paid sick leave annually to employees covered by the final rule. Employees must be able to take paid sick leave for absences resulting from a physical or mental illness, injury, or medical condition; to obtain a diagnosis, care, or preventive care from a healthcare provider; to care for a child, parent, spouse, domestic partner, or any other individual related by blood or affinity whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship; and for issues related to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.

A contractor’s existing paid time off policy will satisfy the requirements of the rule if it covers the same conditions under the same circumstances. Contractors that already provide paid leave to their employees must ensure that their policies comply with the final regulations and that they can track the use of paid sick leave by covered employees.

For more information, see the November issue of Federal Employment Law Insider.

H. Juanita M. Beecher is a contributor to Federal Employment Law Insider and an attorney with Fortney & Scott. You can reach her at nbeecher@fortneyscott.com.

About Federal Employment Law Insider:
Excerpted from Federal Employment Law Insider written by attorneys at the law firm of Fortney & Scott, LLC. FEDERAL EMPLOYMENT LAW INSIDER does not attempt to offer solutions to individual problems but rather to provide information about current developments in federal employment law. Questions about individual problems should be addressed to the federal employment law attorney of your choice. Contact the attorneys at Fortney & Scott, LLC.
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1 Kim Michael
10:10:22, 27/12/16

This article says “NEW” contracts on or after January 1, 2017. Most federal contracts begin in October. Clarification: We have “new” contracts that just started in October 2016 – September 2017. Am I correct to assume we do NOT have to comply with this until October 2017 when our federal contract is renewed again?

2 Kim Michael
10:12:13, 27/12/16

One more question: This new rule would only need to be applied to those employees who are working under a federal contract/subcontract, correct? Albeit this would cause morale issues for the other non-federal contract-related employees.

3 Nita Beecher
09:46:15, 11/01/17

The Department of Labor has defined “new contracts” as including modifications to the current contract but you would only have to comply once the contracting officer adds the paid sick leave provision to your contract.
You are correct that the provision technically only applies to those employees working directly on the contracts with the paid sick leave provisions in them.

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