DOL Issues Sick Leave Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.

Benefits Insights, Spring 2016

As tasked by President Obama last September, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to implement Executive Order (EO) 13706 requiring federal contractors to provide paid sick leave to their employees beginning in 2017. The NPRM requires certain parties that contract with the federal government to provide employees with up to seven days of paid sick leave annually. Federal employers should review their sick leave policies to determine what changes may be needed to ensure they are in full compliance.

The proposed rule would apply to any employee working in connection with a contract covered by the EO, under which employees would have to accrue not less than one hour of paid sick leave for each 30 hours worked or receive at least 56 hours of sick leave at the beginning of each accrual year. Sick leave may be limited to the 56 hours per year; however, employees will be able to carry over accrued sick leave from one year to the next.

Additionally, workers must be allowed to use paid sick leave to care for themselves, a family member, such as a child, parent, spouse, or domestic partner, or another loved one, as well as for absences resulting from domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.

The NPRM describes the obligations of contracting agencies and the DOL and establishes the standards and procedures for complaints, investigations, and administrative enforcement proceedings related to alleged violations. More specifically, the proposed rule incorporates existing definitions, procedures, remedies, and processes under the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Service Contract Act, the Davis-Bacon Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Violence Against Women Act and EO 13658, Establishing a Minimum Wage for Contractors.

All comments concerning the NPRM were due by the end of March, and a final rule is anticipated to be released by fall 2016. Federal contractors who do not currently provide their employees paid sick leave are advised to begin planning for the impact this regulation will have on their businesses.

DOL Issues Sick Leave Notice of Proposed Rulemaking