By Pamela Wolf, J.D. On February 25, the Department of Labor published its proposed regulations in the Federal Register implementing President Obama’s Executive Order 13706, which requires federal contractors (and subcontractors, including lower-tier subcontracts) to offer their employees up to seven days of paid sick leave each year, including paid leave allowing for family care. Under the EO, employees of federal contractors and subcontractors will earn a minimum of one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. The proposed rule, which would amend Title 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations by adding a new part 13, would in addition provide that a covered contractor may not limit annual paid sick leave accrual at less than 56 hours. Accrued sick leave would carry over from one accrual year to the next. Workers would be able to use the paid sick leave to care for themselves or a family member, or for absences resulting from domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. Notably, employees performing in connection with covered contracts for less than 20 percent of their work hours in a given workweek would be excluded from the proposed rule’s requirements. The proposed rule explains that providing access to paid sick leave is expected to improve the health and performance of employees of federal contractors and to bring their benefits packages in line with model employers—a move aimed at ensuring that federal contractors remain competitive employers and generating savings and quality improvements that will lead to improved economy and efficiency in government procurement. As required by EO 13706 and to the extent practicable, the proposed rule incorporates existing definitions, procedures, remedies, and enforcement processes under the FLSA, the Service Contract Act, the Davis-Bacon Act, the FMLA, the Violence Against Women Act, and Executive Order 13658, Establishing a Minimum Wage for Contractors. Comments on the proposed rule must be received on or before 30 days after the proposal’s publication in the Federal Register. Instructions for submitting comments electronically or by mail are further detailed in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.
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