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Workers of Federal Contractors to Get Paid Sick Leave under Obama Executive Order

A new executive order signed by President Barack Obama on September 7, 2015, requires federal contractors and subcontractors to give their workers the ability to earn up to seven days (56 hours) of paid sick leave each year. Workers will earn an hour of paid leave for every 30 hours of work and can use this leave to care for themselves or family members. Workers can carry over unused leave from year to year and unused leave will be reinstated for employees rehired by a covered contractor within 12 months after a job separation. Payment for unused leave upon job separation is not required under the executive order.

The Secretary of Labor must issue regulations to implement the executive order by September 30, 2016. The executive order will go into effect on January 1, 2017.

Paid sick leave earned may be used by an employee for an absence resulting from:

  • Illness, injury, or medical condition;
  • Obtaining diagnosis, care, or preventive care from a health care provider;
  • Caring for a child, a parent, a spouse, a domestic partner, or any other individual related by blood or affinity whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship who has need for diagnosis, care, or preventive care, or is otherwise in need of care; and
  • Domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.

The worker must give at least seven days’ prior notice of the need to take leave if the need for leave is foreseeable, or as soon as practicable if the need is not foreseeable. If the worker takes more than three consecutive workdays of leave, certifications supporting the need for leave must be provided within 30 days from the first day of leave.

The executive order states that it does not supersede other federal, state, or local laws or collective bargaining agreements that provide greater benefits. A federal contractor’s existing policy can satisfy the executive order if it provides a sufficient amount of leave to meet the executive order’s requirements and leave can be taken for the same reasons and under the same conditions as the executive order.

Pursuant to the executive order, federal contractors and subcontractors will be required to update their purchase order and contract language (once again) referencing this new policy. This requirement will apply to new contracts entered after the January 1, 2017, effective date.

Jackson Lewis P.C. © 2019

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Mickey Silberman, Labor and Employment law attorney, Jackson Lewis Law firm, Principal
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Mickey Silberman is a Principal in the Denver, Colorado, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He is the Chair of the Jackson Lewis Affirmative Action & OFCCP Defense Practice Group and the Co-head of the firm’s Pay Equity Resource Group.

Mr. Silberman and the practice group annually prepare thousands of affirmative action plans for employers in all industries and throughout the country. During the past several years, Mr. Silberman has directed the defense of hundreds of OFCCP audits, including successful defense of Corporate Management (“glass ceiling”) Reviews....

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K. Joy Chin, Jackson Lewis, wage benefits lawyer, affirmative action attorney
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Joy Chin is a Principal in the Long Island, New York, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. Since joining the firm in 1995, her practice has been devoted exclusively to employment law and related litigation and the firm’s regulatory practice.

Ms. Chin has litigated matters before local, state and federal administrative agencies and in state and federal courts. Ms. Chin is a frequent speaker on affirmative action and creating lawful diversity programs and spends much of her time counseling employers on issues relating to diversity, EEO, and affirmative action compliance. Prior to joining Jackson Lewis, Ms. Chin was an Assistant District Attorney in Kings County, New York, and in Nassau County, New York.

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Jennifer Seda, Jackson Lewis, affirmative action attorney, OFCCP audit counsel, corporate management lawyer
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During the past several years, Ms. Seda has defended hundreds of OFCCP audits, including on-site reviews, corporate management (“glass ceiling”) reviews, and on-sites. This high volume of OFCCP audit defense allows Ms. Seda to keep on top of the OFCCP’s rapidly evolving enforcement trends and develop excellent relationships with OFCCP personnel. As a result, during the past several years, Ms. Seda and the Affirmative Action Practice Group have obtained Letters of Compliance in more than 99.5% of the hundreds of audits they have defended.

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Francis P. Alvarez, Jackson Lewis, Health Care Management Attorney, Injured Workers Lawyer
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Francis P. (Frank) Alvarez is a Principal in the White Plains, New York, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He is the Leader of the Disability, Leave and Health Management Practice Group, which assists employers in meeting the legal and practical challenges posed by federal and state laws protecting injured and ill employees.

Counseling hundreds of employers each year, Mr. Alvarez spearheads the firm’s effort to provide imaginative and creative solutions to the complex array of workplace disability and health management issues...

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