Thursday, August 6, 2015

New Executive Order Coming on Sick Leave for Federal Contractor Employees

The New York Times reported yesterday that the President is preparing an Executive Order (EO) on paid sick leave for federal contractors.

See online source.

According to the article, the EO would set a minimum of 56 hours a year of paid sick leave (seven days) for not only employee illnesses but also caring 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."

The EO would apply to absences from work resulting from domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking, if that time was used to seek medical attention, obtain counseling, seek relocation assistance from victim services organizations or prepare civil or criminal proceedings.

One other feature of the EO would allow federal contractor employees to carry over their unused sick leave indefinitely.

The EO is unlikely to impact major contractors like Boeing or Lockheed or Raytheon who already have sick leave policies in place that exceed 56 hours per year, but we don't know whether those policies allow unlimited carryover of unused sick leave. The EO, according to the article, will likely hurt the small contractors who will need to increase the sick leave benefits it offers its employees.

When the President used the EO mechanism to require Federal contractors to pay a $10 minimum wage, 300 thousand contractors were impacted.

California implemented its own sick leave law in July. Under California law, employees who work in California for 30 or more days within a year from the beginning of employment is entitled to paid sick leave. Sick leave accrues at the rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked. That will net the employee 69 hours per year - a little more than the EO plan of 56 hours. However, under California law there is a cap to the amount of sick leave that can be carried over. Unused sick leave carries forward to the following year and may be capped at 48 hours.

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