White House Draft Order Would Force Federal Contractors to Issue Paid Sick Leave

Compliance-2According to a draft document acquired by the New York Times, the Obama administration has drafted an executive order forcing any company that contracts with the federal government to issue paid leave to employees who are sick, are seeking medical attention or need to care for a sick relative.

The confidential draft, marked “pre-decisional and deliberative,” covers — for a minimum of 56 hours a year, or about seven days — not just an employee’s illness but also caring for a child, parent, spouse, domestic partner “or any other individual related by blood or affinity whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship.”

The new requirements would apply to absences from work resulting from domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking, if that time was used to seek medical attention, obtain counseling, seek relocation assistance from victim services organizations, or prepare civil or criminal proceedings. Employers would also be required to allow employees’ unused paid leave to accrue, year after year.

While the order is still in draft form, the details show how much deliberation went into it. The draft order states that an employer could not make paid leave contingent on a worker finding a replacement to fill in for them. It also says the implementation of the order would have no impact on longstanding requirements that federal contractors pay the “prevailing wage” of the area where the work is being done. Detailed regulations would be issued by the labor secretary by Sept. 30, 2016.

White House and Labor Department spokesmen refused to comment on the document.