Tag Archives: paid sick leave

Paid Sick Leave Mandate For Federal Contractors Beginning In 2017

Contributed by Julie A. Proscia and Steven W. Jados

On Monday, President Obama signed an Executive Order outlining the paid sick leave benefits that many federal contractors will be required to provide as early as January 1, 2017.

A wide range of federal contracts entered into on or after January 1, 2017, and any subcontracts entered into thereunder, will be required to include language under which employees will earn no less than one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked under covered contracts.

That leave may be used by an employee for absences due to any of the following:

(i) Physical or mental illness, injury, or medical condition;

(ii) Obtaining diagnosis, care, or preventative care from a health care provider;

(iii) caring for a child, a parent, a spouse, a 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 any of the conditions or needs for diagnosis, care, or preventive care described in paragraphs (i) or (ii) of this subsection or is otherwise in need of care; or

(iv) domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, if the time absent from work is for the purposes otherwise described in paragraphs (i) and (ii) of this subsection, to obtain additional counseling, to seek relocation, to seek assistance from a victim services organization, to take related legal action, including preparation for or participation in any related civil or criminal legal proceeding, or to assist an individual related to the employee as described in paragraph (iii) of this subsection in engaging in any of these activities.

Absent employeeRequests to use this paid sick leave are to be made orally or in writing, at least seven days prior to the request—or as soon as practicable if the need for leave is not foreseeable—and such requests are to include the anticipated duration of the employee’s leave. Covered employers may not condition an employee’s use of leave earned under the Order on an employee finding his or her own replacement to cover missed work. Employers also may not require certification from a medical provider of the need for leave under Sections (i), (ii), or (iii), above, unless an employee is absent for three or more consecutive days. If an employee is absent three or more consecutive days for a reason covered by Section (iv), above, the employer may require a limited certification from an appropriate individual or organization.

Covered employees must be allowed to accrue no fewer than 56 hours (approximately seven days) of paid sick leave each year and, as the Order is presently drafted, all such accrued but unused sick leave may be carried-over year after year with no limitation.  Additionally, if an employee separates from covered employment, but is rehired within 12 months of the separation, the employee’s paid sick leave accrued under the Order as of the separation date must be reinstated.  The Order does not, however, require unused sick leave to be paid-out to employees upon separation from employment.

Federal contractors and subcontractors who already have paid leave policies need not make any changes to those policies, so long as an existing policy provides at least as much leave as the Order requires and that leave can be used for the reasons and under the conditions described in the Order. That said, paid sick leave under the Order is to be in addition to any prior obligations that an employer may have under other provisions of federal law.

The contracts to which the Order applies will generally include any new contract or contract-like instrument, provided:

(i)  (A) it is a procurement contract for services or construction;

(B) it is a contract or contract-like instrument for services covered by the Service Contract Act;

(C) it is a contract or contract-like instrument for concessions, including any concessions contract excluded by Department of Labor regulations at 29 CFR 4.133 (b); or

(D) it is a contract or contract-like instrument entered into with the Federal Government in connection with Federal property or lands and related to offering services for federal employees, their dependents, or the general public; and

(ii) The wages of employees under such contract or contract-like instrument are governed by the Davis-Bacon Act, the Service Contract Act, or the Fair Labor Standards Act, including employees who qualify for an exemption from its minimum wage and overtime provisions.

Independent federal agencies are strongly encouraged, but not required to comply with the requirements of the Order.

The Executive Order also contains anti-discrimination, anti-interference, and anti-retaliation provisions, and calls for the Department of Labor to implement any necessary regulations under the Order by September 30, 2016.

Attention CA & MA Employers – Paid Sick Leave Goes Into Effect July 1!!

California

Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law Assembly Bill 1522, the “Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014.” Under this new law, effective July 1, 2015, California employers, with few exceptions, must provide at least 24 hours (3 working days) of paid sick leave per year to their employees.  Read more here!

Massachusetts

On November 4, 2014, Massachusetts voters approved a ballot referendum requiring Massachusetts employers to provide paid sick leave. The new law will take effect on July 1, 2015. Massachusetts joins California and Connecticut as states requiring employers to provide paid sick leave, along with cities such as San Francisco, Newark and New York City.  Read more here!

It’s Spreading Like the Flu – Massachusetts Becomes the 3rd State to Require Employers to Provide Paid Sick Time

Contributed by John Lynch

On November 4, 2014, Massachusetts voters approved a ballot referendum requiring Massachusetts employers to provide paid sick leave.  The new law will take effect on July 1, 2015.  Massachusetts joins California and Connecticut as states requiring employers to provide paid sick leave, along with cities such as San Francisco, Newark and New York City.StethescopeGavel

Under the new Massachusetts law, employers with 11 or more employees must allow all employees (whether full or part time) to earn and use up to 40 hours of paid sick time per year.  Employees accrue paid sick time at the rate of 1 hour for every 30 hours worked.  (Employers with 10 or fewer employees must allow their employees to use unpaid sick time, accrued at the same rate as paid sick time by employees at companies with 11 or more employees.)

Employees may use sick time for their own physical or mental illness or condition, for a spouse, child, or parent’s (or spouse’s parent’s) illness or condition, or to address the psychological, physical or legal effects of domestic violence.

An employer and employee can mutually agree, but the employer may not require that an employee who takes time off for a covered reason may make up the time by working an equivalent number of hours during the same or next pay period rather than use accrued sick leave.  (Note, however, that if a different workweek is used, there could be overtime implications if those “additional hours” put the employee over 40 hours for that particular workweek.)

When the need for paid sick time is foreseeable, the employee must make a good faith effort to provide advance notice of the leave (e.g., a doctor’s appointment, a court appearance for domestic violence, etc.)  For an absence that covers more than 24 consecutive scheduled work hours, an employer may require certification from a health care provider that the absence was necessary for a covered reason.

An employer may not interfere with, or retaliate against an employee for, the use of sick time under the new law.

Employees begin earning sick time on their first day of employment or July 1, 2015, whichever is later.  But an employer may require a waiting period of 90 calendar days after commencement of employment for an employee to begin using sick time.

Employees may carry over up to 40 hours of accrued but unused sick time, but an employer may place a limit of 40 hours of sick time that may be used per year.  Importantly, employers are not required to pay employees for accrued but unused sick time upon termination of employment.

The law requires the Massachusetts Attorney General to create a Notice, which employers must post in a conspicuous place in the workplace as well as provide a copy to employees.

What Should Employers Do?

Between now and July 1, 2015, Massachusetts employers should update their sick leave, PTO leave, and record-retention policies to ensure compliance and proper record keeping.  Employers should also ensure that all managers and supervisors are trained in the application of the new law and the employer’s revised policies.

Finally, employers should update their new hire packets and Employee Handbooks to reflect compliance with the new law.

New York Employers Look Out – New Paid Sick Leave Requirements Are Coming

Contributed by Karuna Brunk

In the midst of high unemployment and a slow economic recovery, New York City is poised to pass new requirements for paid sick leave.  Although, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has pledged to veto the new law, the City Council reportedly has enough votes to override his veto. 

The new law, that would go into effect on April 1, 2014, would require companies with 20 or more employees to provide at least five paid sick days a year.  Additionally, on October 1, 2015, the law would be extended to apply to companies with 15 or more employees.  Companies of any size will also be required to provide five sick days as of April 1, 2014, but the leave may be unpaid. 

Eligible employees must work in New York City and have been employed for at least 4 months.  The new law applies to full-time and part-time workers and could affect about 1 million workers in industries ranging from food service to construction. 

Proponents of paid sick leave laud the law as a huge step because of the prominence of New York City, and its number of workers.  Other cities that currently require paid sick leave include Seattle, Portland, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. 

New York City employers should watch for passage of this law and comply with its timeline.  It will affect both small and large businesses alike.  Additionally, employers should be mindful of any notice posting requirements and updates to employee handbooks that may be required as a result of the passage of this law.