DOL Announces New Rules to Implement Paid Sick Leave for Federal Contractors

Secretary of Labor Tom Perez this week announced new rules to implement President Obama’s Executive Order 13706 to establish paid sick leave for federal contractors – which Obama signed last year on Labor Day.

The order requires employers that contract with the federal government to provide their employees with up to seven days of paid sick leave annually, including family care and absences resulting from domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking.

The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that the new rules will give approximately 828,000 workers expanded access to paid sick time, including nearly 437,000 workers who are currently not guaranteed a single paid sick day.

This is good news for working Americans, but particularly for Hispanic workers who are the least likely to have access to paid sick days. According to data from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, only 46 percent of Hispanic workers have access to paid sick days compared with over 60 percent of Asian, Black, and White workers.

“The proposed rule is a much-needed and encouraging step toward implementing the executive order President Obama issued in September, and we urge DOL to finalize the measure without delay,” Debra Ness, president of the National Partnership for Women & Families, said in a statement.

DOL is encouraging interested parties to submit comments on all aspects of the Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) by March 28, 2016. The executive order will apply to new contracts and replacements for expiring contracts with the federal government on or after January 1, 2017.

Though the executive order is a step in the right direction, Ness called on Congress to pass the Healthy Families Act, saying “Access to basic workplace protections that keep people from having to choose between job and family should not depend on where you live or the job you hold.”

The Healthy Families Act, which ensures workers have access to paid sick days, is part of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights 2016 legislative priorities. Learn more about it here.