United States: DOL Issues Final Rules For Sick Leave For Federal Contractors

Last Updated: October 13 2016
Article by Betty S.W. Graumlich

On September 30, 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor issued the long-awaited Final Rule implementing President Obama's Executive Order 13706, which requires federal contractors (and their subcontractors) to provide workers with a minimum of seven days of paid sick leave. The Rule will impose substantial new obligations on many employers beginning January 1, 2017, and comes as state and local governments increasingly enact mandatory paid leave laws across the country.

Who is covered?

The Final Rule will apply to contracts solicited by the federal government and/or awarded outside of the solicitation process on or after January 1, 2017. It also applies to certain existing contracts that are renewed or extended after January 1, 2017. The Rule will go into effect once the Federal Acquisition Regulatory (FAR) Council issues accompanying regulations.

Under the Final Rule, E.O. 13706 applies to four major categories of contracts:

  • Procurement contracts for construction covered by the Davis-Bacon Act (DBA)
  • Service contracts covered by the McNamara-O'Hara Service Contract Act (SCA)
  • Concessions contracts, including any concessions contracts excluded from the SCA by the Department of Labor's regulations at 29 CFR 4.133(b)
  • Contracts in connection with federal property or lands, and related to offering services for federal employees, their dependents, or the general public

Narrow exclusions include grants, contracts and agreements with Native American tribes, and certain procurement contracts for construction.

The Rule covers employees who perform work within the United States on or in connection with a covered contract, including FLSA-exempt employees and most independent contractors. Employees whose work with covered contracts comprises less than 20 percent of their total work hours in a given workweek, or whose covered work is governed by a collective bargaining agreement that already provides for at least 56 hours of paid sick time, are excluded.

What events or conditions trigger leave under the Rule?

Employees may use accrued paid sick leave for absences relating to:

  1. Their own physical or mental illness, injury or medical condition
  2. Sick or preventive-care medical appointments
  3. Care for the employee's child, parent, spouse, 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 a physical or mental illness, or to attend sickness or preventive care medical appointments; or
  4. Domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, if the time absent from work is for the purposes described in (1) or (2), or to obtain additional counseling, seek relocation, seek assistance from a victim services organization, take related legal action, or assist an individual related to the employee in engaging in any of these activities

Leave requests can be made orally. The request must be made at least seven calendar days in advance when foreseeable, and in other cases, as soon as is practical. Employers must explain any denial of a request to an employee in writing. Denial cannot be based on the employee's failure to find a replacement worker.

Employers may only require doctor certification for employee absences of three or more consecutive workdays, and only if the employee is informed of the requirement before returning to work.

What leave is due?

Importantly, the leave requirement merely establishes a floor. Contractors must follow any applicable local, state, or federal law that offers greater leave rights, and are free to offer more generous amounts of paid sick leave.

There are two options under the Rule: accrual and frontloading.

Under the accrual approach, an employer must provide one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked on a covered contract up to a minimum of 56 hours (seven days) per year. Employees may roll over any unused leave to the next year, although contractors can limit employees from having more than 56 hours accrued at any one time.

Under the frontloading approach, the employee receives 56 hours of paid sick leave at the beginning of the year. Employees may roll over any unused leave to the next year, which means that, under the frontloading approach, an employee can have a maximum of 112 hours of paid sick leave at any one time.

Employers are not required to pay an employee for unused sick leave after separation. If an employee returns to work within 12 months of separation, however, (s)he is generally entitled to have any unused sick leave restored that had accrued before the separation.

Other key provisions

  • Contractors may not interfere with, discriminate against, or retaliate against employees for using paid sick leave, and cannot require an employee to waive his/her rights under the Executive Order.
  • There are substantial recordkeeping and posting obligations.
  • Flow-down requirements: Covered prime contractors must include a designated contract clause in their subcontracts, and must require that subcontractors include the clause in any lower-tier subcontracts. Prime and upper-tier contractors are responsible for compliance of their subcontractors or lower-tier subcontractors.
  • Violations of the Rule can lead to monetary relief and/or debarment for up to three years.

Bottom line for employers

Employers who anticipate pursuing or renewing federal contracts after January 1, 2017, should:

  • Review their current sick leave policy to determine compliance with the Final Rule.
  • Review the current payroll system to ensure its capacity to (i) track the amount of sick leave accrued and taken, and (ii) timely advise employees of those totals.
  • Become familiar with the Final Rule's many, detailed requirements to ensure compliance on any future contracts.

The full text of the Final Rule can be found here.

The DOL's Final Rule Fact Sheet can be found here.

This article is presented for informational purposes only and is not intended to constitute legal advice.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
 
In association with
Related Topics
 
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
 
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions