On January 1, 2017, a new Department of Labor (DOL) rule went into effect requiring many federal contractors to provide their employees with up to 56 hours of paid sick leave per year. Employers who contract with the federal government should take steps to ensure that their current leave plans meet the new rule’s requirements or be prepared to issue new plans compliant with the rule.

The rule allows for contractors to use existing sick time, vacation time, or other paid-time off policies to satisfy the Rule’s requirements. However, there are some requirements which will be at odds with many current employer policies. One such requirement is that employees must be able to carry over any unused paid sick time into the following year, subject to a few exceptions. Another such requirement is that contractor may only require certification of an employee’s illness or injury if the employee’s sick leave lasts three or more consecutive full workdays. Further, contractors must allow employees 30 days from the first full workday missed to obtain certification of the illness or injury. Finally, the rule mandates that employees be allowed to use paid sick leave in increments of one hour, rather than half or whole workdays.

Whether these and other new regulations stand will be in the hands of the new Trump administration. That includes the controversial rule, currently in limbo as a result of a federal court ruling, that blocked implementation of new overtime regulations that were to go into effect late last year.
President-elect Donald Trump’s selection of Andrew Puzder as the next Secretary of Labor may signal a turning point for labor and employment. Puzder has been highly critical of the Obama administrations various labor-related regulations. One of his first targets might be the overtime issue.

The new overtime rules, issued in May, set a new salary threshold — $47,476 per year — under which white-collar workers (regardless of their executive, administrative, or professional duties) must be classified as “non-exempt” from the overtime laws, making them eligible for overtime pay.
But as National Law Review notes: “The Chief Executive Officer of CKE Restaurants, Mr. Puzder has been critical of many of the Obama administration’s labor initiatives. Under complex procedural rules, repeal of the overtime rule could possibly be accomplished through use of the Congressional Review Act (CRA). CRA is a 1996 law that allows Congress to repeal new ‘major rules’ through an expedited resolution of disapproval as long as those regulations were issued within sixty legislative days in the House or session days in the Senate of the start of the new administration.”

Don Benson heads up the HBS Employment Practice. Visit Don’s bio and links to his latest blogs on employment/labor related issues: