EO Would Force Federal Contractors to Provide Paid Sick Leave to Employees
President Obama is planning to issue an executive order that will make it mandatory for federal contractors and sub-contractors to provide up to seven days of paid leave annually to their employees working on federal contracts initiated on or after Jan 1, 2017.
The paid sick leave will be available not just for employees who are suffering from a physical or mental illness, injury or condition, but also for other aspects that are typically available only as federal employment benefits to federal employees and sometimes provided as perks by large private companies to high-value employees.
For example, the paid sick leave may be applied toward preventive care or for diagnostic care. It can also be applied in situations where the federal contractor’s employee is required to provide care for a member of the household such as a child, spouse, domestic partner, parent, etc.
Furthermore, employees would be allowed to carry over unused paid sick time to subsequent years, and would be available for employees rehired within 12 months of separation from employment. Employers would need to be provided a week’s notice of an employee seeking such paid sick leave.
Mandate May Reduce Available Sick Leave to Employees of Federal Contractors
The thing about mandates is that it sets a lower limit. In this case, that may provide detrimental to many employees of federal contractors who already provide paid sick leave. Those providing more than seven days of paid sick leave for reasons above and beyond those stated above will now have the legal justification to cut back on paid sick leave benefits and bring down to the federally mandated level.
The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) issued a statement in which it cites this concern. “We have strong concerns with mandating paid sick leave through an executive order on federal contractors. Many contractors already provide paid sick leave. Leave mandates often result in employers scaling back leave coverage to conform to mandated minimum standards.”