President Obama has signed an executive order mandating that Federal contractors and subcontractors provide up to 56 hours of accrued paid leave per year for employees.
Affected employers must allow accrual and access to paid leave for employees working on new contracts entered into after January 1, 2017. The White House estimates this will provide new paid sick leave benefits to approximately 300,000 employees; many Federal contractors already provide similar benefits.
Covered employees will accrue paid sick leave at a rate of 1 hour for every 30 hours worked. It is unlawful to cap accrual at less than 56 hours per year. Covered employees must be allowed to carryover all unused accrued sick time from year to year, without limits. For employees reinstated within 12 months of job separation, accumulated paid sick leave must be reinstated.
Employees may use paid leave for their own medical condition including mental health, for care appointments, to care for family members (defined broadly), or in response to domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking.
Employees must provide an oral or written request for leave, including the expected duration, at least seven calendar days prior to the start of the leave, where the need for leave is foreseeable, and in other cases as soon as practicable. Employers may require medical certification only for absences of three consecutive workdays or more, to be provided no later than 30 days from the first day of leave.
Covered contractors may not discriminate against employees who take, or attempt to take, paid sick leave as provided under the order.
This paid leave requirement is in addition to a variety of similar state and local laws, each of which has its own accrual rate, applicability and eligibility rules.