The U.S. Department of Labor recently released its Final Rule requiring that federal contractors provide up to 56 hours of paid sick leave per year to their employees. This Rule implements an Executive Order by President Obama and is expected to affect more than 1.1 million employees – including those who currently receive no sick leave and those who receive some paid sick leave but are entitled to receive additional leave under this Final Rule.
These new paid sick leave requirements apply to specifically-identified categories of new or modified contracts after January 1, 2017. They also apply to subcontracts of covered prime or upper-tier contracts under certain situations regardless of the value of the subcontract. Covered employees are those performing work “on or in connection with” covered contracts and whose wages under such contracts are governed by the Davis-Bacon Act, Service Contract Act, or the Fair Labor Standards Act (including employees who are otherwise exempt from an act’s minimum wage and overtime provisions). As with all U.S. federal employment laws, the Rule prohibits employers from discharging or discriminating against an employee for using leave, filing a complaint, cooperating in an investigation, or informing others of their right to use such leave, as well as from interfering with an employee’s accrual or use of paid sick leave.
Highlights of the Rule include that covered employees are entitled to at least one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked, with the accrual capped at 56 hours of paid sick leave annually; frontloading leave is allowed. Contractors must allow employees to carry over their accrued but unused sick leave each year, with caps. In most cases, sick leave may be used in increments of 1 hour. The allowable uses of sick leave are spelled out in the Rule, and include certain types of care for the employee’s family members. The Rule describes employer notification requirements of amount of each employee’s leave, and declares that an employee’s request for leave may be oral and need not contain detailed information. A contractor may require specified certifications to verify the need for sick leave only if the employee is absent for three or more consecutive full workdays and only if the employee received notice of the certification/documentation requirement before returning to work.
Consult with the labor and employment lawyers at your Ally Law member firm to determine if your company is an entity covered by the mandates of this Final Rule, and if there are other laws and regulations of which you may be unaware. Ally Law member firms have employment and labor attorneys versed in federal, regional, and local laws regulating employee/employer conduct and policies in whatever location you are doing business. For more information about Ally Law member firm services in this area, contact us at email@example.com.