Costs and Benefits: Paid Sick Leave For Federal Contractors

By: Jake Clabaugh, WIPP Government Relations

sick leave paidFederal contractors have been hit with a bevy of new regulations over the past few months – everything from increased reporting of labor and safety violations, a raise in minimum wages and increases in mandatory overtime pay. The next shoe will drop in January 2017, when ALL Federal contractors, primes and subs, will have to provide paid sick leave benefits to workers. The Department of Labor (DOL) proposed rules that would implement this change last month.

Contracts issued January 1, 2017 will require all Federal contractors to give employees 1 hour of paid sick leave per 30 hours worked. This rule will only apply to time spent on Federal contracts, so if an employee performs some work for a private sector client, those hours would not count toward sick leave accrual. Additionally, earned sick leave will carry over from one year to the next.

Why just contractors? The President issued an Executive Order to make the change. Like other new regulations pertaining to contractors, the President can make these decisions for his workforce. Congress has been unable to decide if or how to move forward on these issues so the President decided to act on his own. As the Commander in Chief, he can determine procurement policy – including requirements for contractors – without Congress having to pass a law.

While WIPP members support worker benefits in practice, we don’t believe that the DOL gave enough consideration to how this rule will affect small businesses. Without an exception for small businesses, the vast majority of women-owned business will be compelled to provide the same benefits as multi-billion dollar firms.

WIPP’s comments to DOL on the proposed rule can be read in full here.

3 Ways Employee Policies Can Protect Your Business

K Prinz

By Kristen Prinz, Founder and Managing Partner of The Prinz Law Firm

A study by specialty insurer Hiscox was recently published finding that U.S.-based companies have at least an 11.7 percent chance of facing an employment law charge. The study claims that the average cost for small and mid-sized businesses to defend these claims is $125,000. That’s a lot of money. It makes having effective employee policies all the more important.

On November 16, 2015, at 1:00 pm CST, I will be presenting the webinar 10 Employee Policies that Minimize Business Risk for WIPP and the WBDC. Participants will learn about 10 policies that can help businesses avoid the $125,000 average. Here are three ways that these polices can help protect your business:

  1. Address claims before they become lawsuits.

Employee policies can provide employees with an internal method to resolve a potential claim. Businesses can use policies to encourage and require that concerns about discrimination, harassment or even wage issues be reported. Knowing the concerns of your employees puts an organization in a much better position to swiftly resolve an issue that could otherwise become a lawsuit.

  1. Show the government your business is committed to compliance.

Having anti-discrimination and anti-retaliation policies shows the EEOC that your business has taken a stance against discrimination and retaliation. Similarly, an effective time keeping policy can show the DOL that your business is taking appropriate steps to comply with wage laws. These policies can bolster a defense when an agency audits your business or investigates a claim.

  1. Create a positive workplace culture.

Your business shouldn’t just have policies; it should abide by them and enforce them. Having well publicized policies that demonstrate your business’s dedication to a positive workplace is one of the best ways to deter employment law claims. Employees are far less likely to sue an employer they believe supports and values them.

To learn about the 10 policies that can help your business (i) address claims before they become lawsuits, (ii) show the government your business is committed to compliance, and (iii) create a positive workplace culture, register now for the WIPP and WBDC webinar 10 Employee Policies that Minimize Business Risk.