Sure, California could pass a law preempting the local ones to make life easier for employers and still provide employees with leave. But making things easier for employers is just not job 1 at the Legislature.
Now, there is yet another law that requires employers' attention. Back in September 2015, President Obama issued an Executive Order, No. 13706, in which he ordered employers with federal contracts to provide employees working on those contracts with paid sick leave. The US Department of Labor issued proposed regulations, which are now final.
A summary of the regulations, the comments and the final regulations are in this very long PDF.
To break it down,
- the first 10 pages contain a summary of the various regulations
- the next 394 pages are a detailed analysis including responses to the 35,000 comments that were submitted regarding this regulation.
- Page 404 of the PDF is where the regulations begin.
What is a Contractor and What Contracts are Covered?
Section 13.2 (p. 406 of the PDF) of the new regulation defines who is a federal contractor, covered by the rule:
Contractor means any individual or other legal entity that is awarded a Federal
Government contract or subcontract under a Federal Government contract. The term contractor refers to both a prime contractor and all of its subcontractors of any tier on a contract with the Federal Government. The term contractor includes lessors and lessees. The term employer is used interchangeably with the terms contractor and subcontractor in various sections of this part.
Of note, the term "employee" is defined (pp. 410-411 of the PDF) as limited to those who work on federal contracts. So, employers that have operations that are separate from servicing the federal contract are not covered by this rule.
The coverage of the types of contracts that the regulation applies to is explained in section 13.3, at pp. 417 et seq. of the PDF.
What Is the Sick Leave Entitlement?
That's explained in section 13.5 of the regulation, beginning at page 420 of the PDF.
a contractor shall permit an employee to accrue not less than 1 hour of paid
sick leave for every 30 hours worked on or in connection with a covered contract. A contractor shall aggregate an employee’s hours worked on or in connection with all covered contracts for that contractor for purposes of paid sick leave accrual.
A contractor may choose to provide an employee with at least 56 hours of paid sick leave at the beginning of each accrual year rather than allowing the employee to accrue such leave based on hours worked over time.
So, like California and other jurisdictions, the sick pay accrues at one hour for every 30 hours worked. More generous than California, the federal entitlement maxes out at seven, eight-hour days.
And the employer can front-load 56 hours to the employee rather than accrue over time.
There are rules regarding "carrying over" at page 423-24 of the PDF.
Pages 425-428 include the terms of the leave, documentation the employer may require, and more.
Pages 428-431 cover the medical certification the employer may require.
The regulation provides for no private enforcement of the paid sick leave law. Employees claiming a violation of the regulation must proceed through the Department of Labor.
The DOL will investigate and try to address any violations. However, the DOL may sue an employer or seek "debarment" from federal contracts.
Section 13.5 of the regulations require employers to maintain a record of the sick leave employees have accrued and used, and furnish information to employees with the paycheck or online.
Section 13.25 (page 441 of the PDF) requires contractors to keep a variety records for three years.
That section also requires employers to keep detailed records if they wish to segregate employees' hours worked on federal contracts versus non-contractor work.
Of course. Section 13.26 describes the obligation to post a notice prepared by the DOL.
* * *
Unless Congress or the new president rescinds this rule, it will go into effect. So, employers with federal contracts, please get ready for the new sick leave obligation, create policies, and determine how you will address sick leave for employees who are not working on the contract.
Finally, I tried my best to summarize 460 pages of rule making and analysis. If I left anything out important to you or your business, please accept my apologies. It's best if you click the link above and read the rules along with your employment counsel!
Now please excuse me, I'm feeling a little sick. SWIDT?