Pay & Benefits Watch

Erich Wagner | August 22, 2018 | 0 Comments

Guaranteed Paid Sick Leave for Contractors, and Changes to the Annual Charitable Giving Drive

By klarka0608 / Shutterstock.com

Three federal agencies on Wednesday published a rule finalizing implementation of an Obama-era executive order requiring federal contractors to provide employees with seven or more days of paid sick leave, including leave for family care.

The rule has been in effect on an interim basis since December 2016. In 2015, President Obama issued an executive order requiring the paid leave for contractors, which was projected at the time to affect around 300,000 full- and part-time workers. Under the rule, an employee would earn one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked, up to seven days per year.

According to the agencies’ filing with the Federal Register, since the proposed rule was first published in September 2016, six of the seven comments from the public were supportive of the requirement. The other comment sought clarification on how it would impact a specific scenario.

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Meanwhile the Office of Personnel Management last week announced the federal government’s annual charity fundraising drive, which is set to begin next month.

In a memo to agency heads, OPM Director Jeff Pon said the 2018 Combined Federal Campaign will run from Sept. 10 until Jan. 11, 2019.

Last year saw a steep decline in federal workers’ donations, raising only $104 million compared with $167 million in 2016. The campaign has seen donations drop every year since 2009.

Last year also marked the implementation of a new online giving system and marked the first time all federal employees could pledge money online. Cash donations were prohibited.

In the memo, Pon outlined changes to the new system at the request of federal workers, and said the donation process will be streamlined for shared services and payroll providers.

“They now disburse funds to one organization instead of over 120 organizations as required by the prior regulations,” Pon wrote. “The new process reduces the burden on your human resources and customer service employees in finance centers. It also makes management of CFC pledges easier for charities.”

Additionally, newly hired employees will now have an opportunity to make pledges outside of the ordinary Combined Federal Campaign window, provided they follow up during the next campaign.

“This ‘New Hires’ [period] will extend from February 1 through August 1 of every year,” Pon wrote. “To continue a new hire pledge, those employees will need to make an election during the regular solicitation period with their colleagues annually.”

The tweaks to the annual fundraiser come after OPM issued guidance in May establishing that feds will now be able to donate their time through the Combined Federal Campaign. Although the agency stressed that volunteer hours must be workers’ own, unpaid time, it encouraged agencies to develop coordinated volunteer activities to improve workforce morale.

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