President Obama delivered a nice Labor Day gift to federal contract workers. An Executive Order signed this Labor Day requires federal contractors to provide at least seven days of paid sick leave in a year to employees performing work on covered contracts and subcontracts. The order applies to government contracts entered into on or after January 1, 2017.
What it means to Workers:
Under this order, federal contract workers, whether full time or part-time, permanent or contingent, become eligible to an hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. Approximately 300,000 workers, who do not enjoy paid sick leave at the moment, are expected to be covered by this order.
What the Order prescribes:
According to the Executive Order, the use of paid sick leave needs to follow the following process:
What it means to Employers:
The order does not restrict federal contractors from providing even more generous benefits to their workers and paid sick leave, should they choose to do so. Employers who already have sick leave programs may take the time over the next year to review their program and bring it in line with what is prescribed by the Order.
The President again has used Executive Order to promote his positions on worker rights, hoping that the position taken with regard to federal workers will encourage the private sector to follow suit. Though paid sick leave laws for private workers are mandated only by California, Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York, no other state requires private employers to provide paid sick leave to their employees. Many companies voluntary offer paid sick leave, arguing that it provides a competitive differentiator and enhances their brand as a destination workplace.
We will continue to monitor whether this Executive Order will be followed by a larger movement toward paid sick leave. In the meantime, we ask you to weigh in on this issue.
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