By Attorney Tara Swartz

President Barack Obama issued an Executive Order on Labor Day, 2015 extending the right to paid sick leave to employees across the country working for private companies who contract with the federal government. The new rule appears to extend similar benefits to employees of federal contractors as does Massachusetts’ Earned Sick Leave Law that became effective July 1, 2015.

It requires companies provide 1 hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours an employee works, up to at least 7 paid sick days per year. Allowable reasons to use accrued sick leave include: 1) to care for a mental or physical illness, injury or medical condition, 2) to attend medical appointments, and 3) to address the effects of domestic violence of the employee, the employee’s child, spouse, parents, domestic partners or close relatives or persons with familial relationship. It also prohibits interference or retaliation for exercising or assisting in the exercise of the leave rights afforded. The Department of Labor is expected to issue implementing regulations in the next couple of months which should provide more guidance.

This is important for employees of federal contractors who work in Massachusetts because it is an added layer of support and enforcement of earned and paid sick leave. If you are in need of time off to care for yourself or a family member and want to ensure that you understand your rights, contact Tara Swartz online or at 617-871-1500.