Topics AA / OFCCP

Is Mandatory Paid Sick Leave on the Horizon for Federal Contractors?

Date   Aug 6, 2015

The next big change for federal contractors may be a requirement that they provide paid sick leave to employees. 

The next big change for federal contractors may be a requirement that they provide paid sick leave to employees.  According to the New York Times, President Obama has drafted an executive order that would require federal contractors and subcontractors to provide a minimum of 56 hours of paid sick leave (approximately seven days) per year to employees.  The leave could be used for the employee's own illness, to care for a spouse, child or family member who is ill or for absences from work to seek medical attention, attend counseling, obtain relocation assistance or attend legal proceedings related to sexual violence or stalking.   

The order has not been published; however, the Department of Labor was to approve the order and send it to the White House by Wednesday afternoon, according to the New York Times article. See Obama Drafts Order on Paid Sick Leave for Federal Contractors, Aug. 5, 2015.  President Obama has long been a proponent of paid leave and, in his January State of the Union address, urged Congress to send him a bill that would give all employees seven days of paid sick leave. Such legislation has been proposed but has not withstood opposition from the Republican-controlled Congress. Although federal law does not require employers to provide paid sick leave, some state and local governments have enacted such requirements.

If the President signs this executive order, it will be the latest in a number of orders imposing additional burdens on federal contractors. In February of 2014, the President signed an executive order increasing the minimum wage for employees of certain federal contractors to $10.10 per hour. He subsequently signed orders prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating based on gender identity and sexual orientation, requiring them to self-report labor violations, prohibiting policies which require employees to not disclose their compensation to each other, and prohibiting mandatory arbitration of certain discrimination and harassment claims.  

If you have any questions regarding this issue or other employment related issues impacting federal contractors, please contact Linda Cavanna-Wilk,, or any member of FordHarrison's Affirmative Action/OFCCP practice group. You may also contact the FordHarrison attorney with whom you usually work.