In early August, Netflix announced that in addition to offering unlimited sick and vacation days, it would also allow employees to take unlimited paid parental leave. Refusing to be upstaged by the private sector, on Labor Day President Obama signed an Executive Order requiring all businesses that contract with the federal government to begin providing their workers paid sick leave beginning January 1, 2017. To comply with the Order, federal government contractors will have to provide at least 1 paid hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked – that’s almost 70 annual hours of paid sick leave (to care for self, a family member, or “another loved one”) for a person who works 40 hours per week. The new sick leave mandate also covers absences resulting from domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. You can read the full White House Labor Day press release here.
The Executive Order seems to indicate that the Labor Day Paid Sick Leave Mandate will apply to employees, not independent contractors who work on government contracts. (The press release mentions both “employees” and “people working on federal contracts.”) Recall, however, that the U.S. Department of Labor recently declared its belief that thousands of workers are misclassified as independent contractors, so be careful not to rely solely on the labels workers wear to determine whether the Executive Order applies to your business. In any event, according to the White House, the new rule will affect approximately 300,000 workers. Of course, that means the rule will also affect the companies that employ them.