President Obama is said to have drafted an Executive Order, obtained by the New York Times, which would require federal contractors and subcontractors to provide their employees with a minimum of 56 hours (about 7 days) of paid sick leave annually to use for their own illness or to care for sick relatives. The draft order would also allow the leave to be used for medical attention, counseling, and legal action relating to domestic violence and sexual assault. The draft order specifies that the right to take paid leave cannot be contingent upon the employee finding a replacement during the leave. Unpaid sick leave would carry over from year to year. Compliance with the Executive Order would be a pre-requisite to obtaining a contract with the Government.
President Obama’s action comes after the Department of Labor (the “DOL”) released a statistic showing that 39% of the private sector work force currently has no paid sick leave. The DOL is said to be reviewing the draft order, but has stated that no final decision has been made yet. If the order is issued, the DOL secretary will issue detailed regulations by September 30, 2016.