President Obama Requires Federal Contractors to Provide Paid Sick Leave


On September 7, 2015, President Obama signed an Executive Order requiring certain federal contractors to provide their employees with paid sick leave. Under the Order, employees working on federal contracts can earn seven paid sick days annually.

The Order guarantees both part- and full-time employees one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. The contractor must allow its employees to accrue at least 56 hours of paid leave per year. Accrued but unused paid leave carries over from one year to the next without limit, but covered contractors are not required to pay the employee for accrued but unused sick leave upon separation of employment.

Paid sick leave earned under the Order may be used for an absence resulting from the employee’s own health reasons and to care for a sick family member, including a child, parent, spouse, domestic partner, or individual whose association with the employee is equivalent to a family relationship. Employees may also use the leave to recover from and take remedial actions associated with domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. The covered contractor is permitted to request documentation or a certification regarding the employee’s absence if the employee has been absent for three or more consecutive workdays.

Federal contractors that have an existing paid leave policy are compliant with the Order’s mandates if the amount of paid leave under their existing policy meets the amount of paid leave required under the Order, and if the leave under their existing policy may be used for the same purposes and under the same conditions described in the Order.

The Executive Order only applies to certain new federal contracts that are awarded or solicited on or after January 1, 2017. Covered contracts include a procurement contract for services or construction; a contract covered by the Service Contract Act; a contract for concessions; and a contract entered into with the federal government in connection with federal property or lands and related to offering services for federal employees, their dependents, or the general public.

If you have questions about how this Order may affect your business, please feel free to contact Connell Foley’s labor and employment law attorneys.