The United States is the only industrialized country in the world where employees aren’t guaranteed the right to take a paid sick day off of work. As of today, that has changed.
The U.S. Department of Labor announced a final rule today requiring federal contractors to provide paid sick leave to employees who work on or in connection with certain federal contracts. The rule will allow these workers to use paid leave if they are sick, need to take care of a sick family member or must see a doctor or take a family member to a medical appointment. Workers may also use paid sick leave for reasons related to domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking.
When fully implemented, the final rule:
- Provides up to 56 hours of paid sick leave per year to an estimated 1.15 million employees of federal contractors, including an estimated 594,000 employees who currently receive no paid sick leave.
- Ensures that employers have choices in how to best adapt the paid sick leave requirement to their businesses. For example, employers can choose to allow workers to accrue leave over time, or to frontload leave for ease of administration.
- Includes flexibilities related to integration with employers’ existing paid time off policies and leave provisions in existing collective bargaining agreements.
- Improves the health and performance of employees of covered federal contractors and brings benefits packages offered by those federal contractors in line with leading firms, ensuring they remain competitive in the search for dedicated and talented employees.
- Protects the public health by ensuring that covered federal contractors’ employees, customers and clients are able to stay home when they are sick.
The final rule applies to all covered contracts solicited and awarded on or after Jan. 1, 2017. For more details, please see “Fact Sheet: Final Rule to Implement Executive Order 13706, Establishing Paid Sick Leave for Federal Contractors,” and Frequently Asked Questions available at http://www.dol.gov/whd/govcontracts/eo13706/.