We have years of experience helping our clients draft sick leave and vacation policies. In a new draft executive order from President Obama, employers with federal contracts will be required to provide seven days of sick time to employees annually, which would include paid time for family care. That may not sound like a big deal, but it could cause a lot of administrative headaches for companies to implement and execute, in addition to requiring policy changes.
“Today, we are the only advanced country on Earth that doesn’t guarantee paid sick leave or paid maternity leave to our workers,” Obama said. “Forty-three million workers have no paid sick leave…And that forces too many parents to make the gut-wrenching choice between a paycheck and a sick kid at home.”
While Obama cited the 43 million figure, the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) says that number includes paid sick leave, not paid time off that can be used for things such as illness or vacation, but isn’t labeled as “sick leave.” SHRM and the Families and Work Institute found through their research that “almost all U.S. employers with 50 or more employees (99 percent) have some form of time off with pay for their full-time employees.”
SHRM said they have concerns about mandating paid sick leave through an executive order. They said that mandating leave often results in employers reducing their leave coverage to conform to minimum standards. In other words, many companies are already offering employees (and contractors) more than the proposed requirement and will change their policies to meet government stipulations, which ultimately isn’t good for employees.
If the executive order is enacted, you may need to update your sick leave policy. Even if it isn’t passed, it’s not a bad idea to revisit your policies. We’re here to help. Call us at 404-208-2802.