Paid Sick Leave Federal Contractors

Paid sick leave for federal contractors, how much is it and who is eligible? Read more at

Effective: January 1, 2017

Who is covered?

The ruling applies to all employees (exempt, non exempt, part time workers) working on or working in connection with new contracts and replacements for expiring contracts with the federal government and applies to the following contracts after January 1, 2017:

  1. procurement contracts for services or construction covered by the Davis-Bacon Act;
  2. contracts or contract-like instruments for services covered by the Service Contract Act;
  3. contracts or contract-like instruments for concessions; and
  4. contracts or contract-like instruments in connection with federal property or lands and related to offering services for federal employees, their families, or the general public.

What is the difference in coverage when working 'on' or working 'in connection with' a covered contract?

Employees working on a covered contract are entitled to sick leave. However, an employee working in connection with a covered contract is only entitled to accrue sick leave if that employee spends 20 percent or more working hours in a given workweek in connection with covered contracts.

Do sub contractors have to provide sick leave?

Any employee working on a covered contract on the same basis as the prime contractor is entitled to paid sick leave.

How much paid sick leave?

1 hour for every 30 hours of work (including hours an employee spend on paid leave), up to 56 hours or 7 days of paid sick leave each year.

If contractors provide leave up front, there is no need to track sick leave accruall, but the contractor have to permit that their employees have at least 7 days of paid leave at the beginning of each year.

How to use paid sick leave?

- for own illness, injury, or other health-related needs, including preventive care;
- to assist a family member or 'close friend' who is ill, injured, or has other health-related needs, including preventive care;
- or for reasons resulting from, or to assist a family member who is the victim of, domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.

Carryover of unused accrued sick leave?

Employees are permitted to carry over accrued, unused sick leave from one year to the other, but it allows contractors to limit the amount of paid sick leave to 56 hours.

Contractors are required to reinstate accrued, unused sick leave if you are rehired by the same contractor within 12 months of job termination, unless the contractor paid your unused paid sick leave by termination.

Payment of unused paid sick leave?

Contractors are not required to pay you for accrued, unused paid sick leave at your job termination, however, when they do, they don't have to reinstate unused leave if they hire you again within 12 months of job separation. 

Is notice required?

A leave request must be made at least 7 calendar days in advance if the leave is foreseeable. In other cases as soon as possible. 

Certification of the need to use the leave?

A contractor may require certification of the health care provider for leave of 3 or more consecutive full days. 


The rule prohibits contractors from discriminating or retaliating against an employee who exercises his or her rights, but says that an employer may investigate genuine concerns about fraudulent use of leave.

Read the final rule, executive order 13706, establishing Paid Sick Leave for Federal Contractors.

Updated: October 12, 2016

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