Paid sick leave mandate likely to survive Trump rollbacks

Dive Brief:

  • As President Donald Trump seeks to roll back Obama administration executive orders, the paid sick leave mandate for federal contractors doesn't seem to be going away anytime soon, reports Bloomberg BNA.
  • The Department of Labor’s rule requires federal contractors to offer their employees 56 hours of sick paid leave per year for care of personal illnesses and/or those of family members.
  • Paid sick leave was a target of the Trump administration early on, but has since been less prioritized than reform of the fiduciary and blacklisting rules. Ivanka Trump's support of paid family leave has complicated the matter further, BNA says.

Dive Insight:

The DOL's rule officially went into effect at the beginning of the year, but it only applies to contracts solicited and rewarded on or after Jan. 1. Aside from covering workers' illnesses, the rule also permits paid time off for taking care of sickness in one's family, taking family members to doctor's appointments and dealing with specific other personal matters (ex: domestic violence).

Many workers, especially those who are low-income or recently hired, feel they can’t afford to take off days without pay if they or a family member experience an illness. That forces many to come to work sick, putting their co-workers’ health at risk.

While the Trump administration and Republican lawmakers seem to have suspended their battle against paid sick leave, for now, cities and states have introduced or adopted their own paid sick leave policies. Tracking the progress of local legislation remains imperative to compliance efforts at this point in time, and not just for contractors.

Paid sick leave also remains an appealing benefit for recruiting and retaining staff. The vast majority of employee respondents (85%) in a Pew research study say they support PTO for serious illnesses, while 69% feel likewise about family illnesses. Employers with the resources to offer this benefit have a clear incentive to do so.

Filed Under: Comp & Benefits Legal
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