President Obama announces paid time off for Federal Contractors

On Labor Day President Obama announced that he had issued an executive order that Federal Contractors are now required to provide up to 7 days of paid days of sick time (based on an accrual system for time worked). This order only applies to employers who do Federal Contracts. “Right now, about 40% of private-sector workers — 44 million people in America — don’t have access to paid sick leave,” Obama said in announcing the order. “Unfortunately, only Congress has the power to give this security to all Americans,” he added, “but where I can act, I will.”

As an employment lawyer practicing in El Paso, Texas I receive calls every week regarding what are the legal requirements for paid time off. Unfortunately for Texas workers, your employer is not required to provide any paid time off they are however required by Federal law to provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid time off based on the Family Medical Leave Act. To qualify for for this unpaid time off you must work for an employer who employs 50

Also if you miss work because of an on the job injury you may have additional rights of compensation. workers within 75 miles and you must have worked at least 1,250 hours within the past 12 months. Many terminated employees are under the misconception that if they bring in a note from a doctor that their employer must excuse the absence. This is just not the case for the vast majority of workers. However, there are other laws which can under some circumstance provide relief for fired, injured and sick employee. These include the Americans With Disability Act (ADA) and Chapter 451 of the Texas Labor Code (an employer cannot retaliate against an employee who files a workers’ compensation claim -reports and injury that could be covered by workers’ compensation – in good faith.).

Fortunately disability is very broad and has a much more expansive meaning than one might normally think of when dealing with disability. Such things as bad backs and asthma are considered disability under the ADA. If you are fired for missing work, even if you do not qualify for FMLA you should seek legal help from a competent and board certified employment lawyer to learn if you are protected from being wrongful termination.

Further, even if your employer may have the legal right to fire you does not mean that you do not have the legal right to file for unemployment. While you must be able to work to qualify for unemployment, being terminated for missing work when it is out of your control for medical reasons is not a valid reason to deny you unemployment.

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