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Establishing Paid Sick Leave for Federal Contractors

The Department of Labor has announced a proposed rule to implement Executive Order 13706, Establishing Paid Sick Leave for Federal Contractors. Executive Order 13706 was signed by President Barack Obama on September 7, 2015, and requires parties that enter into covered contracts with the Federal Government to provide covered employees with up to 7 days of paid sick leave annually, including paid leave allowing for family care. The proposed rule describes the categories of contracts and employees covered by the Executive Order; the rules and restrictions regarding the accrual and use of paid sick leave; the obligations of contracting agencies, the Department of Labor, and covered Federal contractors under the Order; and the remedies and enforcement procedures to implement the Order’s requirements.

By Labor Secretary Tom Perez on February 24, 2016

 

Too many workers this morning had to choose between their health and their paycheck. They had to weigh the benefits of treating their cough or fever with the costs of losing a day’s pay or putting their jobs on the line. Without access to paid sick leave, they bundled up, went to work and hoped for the best.

 

Nearly 44 million workers in the U.S. don’t get any paid sick leave from their employers. That means when illness strikes, nearly 40 percent of private sector workers face a difficult choice: go to work to earn the full paycheck they so desperately need, or make a financial sacrifice – and risk losing their job – to stay home to care for themselves or a family member.

 

But a lack of paid sick leave doesn’t just jeopardize a family’s well-being and security – it is a threat to public health and just plain bad for our economy. When parents can’t stay home and are forced to put a sick child on a school bus, they endanger the health of their child and other children. When people go into work sick, they risk infecting their coworkers and customers. The lost wages from staying home sick means less money in workers’ pockets to spend on basic necessities, hurting local businesses that depend on their spending.

 

Although Congress has yet to make paid sick leave the law of the land, state and local governments aren’t waiting for action from Washington. Throughout our nation, forward-looking leaders are enacting paid sick leave policies, like most recently in Vermont, with strong support from local businesses.

 

President Obama isn’t waiting, either. He’s using the power of his pen to ensure that companies that do business with the federal government allow their workers to earn up to 7 days of paid sick leave each year, thereby improving the health and performance of their employees – which is good for taxpayers.

 

Today, we issued a proposed rule that shows how we aim to implement the president’s executive order. It also outlines what affected employers and workers would need to know when it goes into effect. While we have a ways to go to ensure every worker in America has paid sick leave, the executive order will provide additional paid sick leave to an estimated 828,000 workers. Nearly 437,000 of those currently receive no paid sick leave.

 

These workers will be able to use paid sick leave to care for themselves, a family member or another loved one. It would also allow workers to use paid sick leave for absences resulting from domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking.

 

We urge you to take a look at the proposed rule implementing this protection for employees of federal contractors and provide your feedback.

 

Paid sick leave isn’t just the right thing to do for working families. It’s essential to the health of our workforce and the health of our economy. I’m looking forward to a day when working moms and dads can afford to stay home with their sick kids, when a younger worker can take paid sick leave to care for an ailing grandparent and a husband can use his earned sick time to care for his wife – all without fear of losing a day’s pay or their livelihood. Today, we’re one step closer to making it happen.

 

Follow Secretary Perez on Twitter and Instagram as @LaborSec.

 

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