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Paid Sick Leave for Federal Contractors-Executive Order

On September 7, 2015, President Obama signed an executive order requiring that federal contractors provide paid sick leave to their employees working on certain type of contracts.  Contracts for which the new regulations shall apply are only those performed within the United States which include:  1) procurement contracts for construction covered by the Davis-Bacon Act; (2) services contracts covered by the Service Contract Act; (3) concession contracts; or (4) a contract in connection with Federal property or lands and related to offering services for Federal employees, their dependents, or the general public. The regulations will not apply to contracts for the manufacturing or furnishing of materials, supplies, articles, or equipment that are subject to the Walsh-Healey Public Contracts Act.

The order requires that employers who employee personnel on the types of federal contracts listed above, which result from solicitations issued on or after January 1, 2107, provide employees up to fifty-six (56) hours of annual paid sick leave.  Such sick leave may be used by employees under the following conditions:  i) to obtain diagnosis, care or preventative care from a health care provider; ii) to care for a child, parent, spouse, domestic partner or anyone with the equivalent of such a family relationship; iii) if there is a physical or mental illness, injury or medical condition of the employee; or iv) due to illness, injury or other medical condition or to obtain diagnosis, care or preventative care from a health care provider in a domestic violence situation and to seek assistance from victim services, seek counseling, take legal action, seek relocation or help a relative engage in any such activities. 

Employers must allow leave to accrue at a rate of at least one hour of sick leave for every thirty (30) hours worked.  All accrued sick leave up to fifty-six (56) hours may be carried over from year to year.   An employer can restrict employee from having more than fifty-six (56) hours at any single time, but cannot prevent employees from accruing more time, up to fifty-six (56) hours, after such leave is reduced below the fifty-six (56) hours.

Employees must generally request time off at least seven (7) days in advance or immediately when the need for leave is foreseeable.  Employers may request certification from a health care provider for such leave only if the employee is absent for three (3) or more consecutive full work days.

Employer’s paid time off policies may comply with the paid sick leave requirements so long as employees may use the PTO for all the reasons outlined above.  The fact an employee can also use the time for vacation or personal time does not disqualify the PTO policies from qualifying hereunder.

Finally, unless its policies, or state laws require otherwise, an employer is not required to pay employees for any accrued but unused sick leave upon termination of employment.

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