Transcript

You Might Be Eligible For Paid Sick Leave Or Expanded Family And Medical Leave

Updated 4/24/20

Employees impacted for various reasons related to the coronavirus pandemic are now eligible for paid sick leave and expanded medical and family leave through Dec. 31, 2020.

Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, employers must provide qualifying employees with up to two weeks of paid sick leave. In general, eligible employees include people working for small businesses with fewer than 500 workers, as well as certain public sector workers. People employed for at least 30 days before their leave request also may qualify for an additional 10 weeks of partially paid leave if they are caring for a child whose school or day care is closed due to the coronavirus.

Generally, full-time workers taking leave are entitled to sick pay of up to 80 hours at either their regular rate, or the applicable state or federal minimum wage, whichever is higher. If the employee is unable to work, or telework, they are paid based on the following guidelines: 

  • Two weeks, up to 80 hours of paid sick leave at 100% of the employee’s regular pay if they are subject to a quarantine or isolation order; if they have been advised by their health-care provider to self-quarantine; or if they are seeking a diagnosis for coronavirus symptoms. Up to $511 daily or $5,110 total.
  • Two weeks, up to 80 hours of paid sick leave at two-thirds the employee’s regular pay if they are unable to work because of a need to care for a quarantined individual or someone experiencing a similar condition; or whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to coronavirus. Up to $200 daily or $2,000 total.
  • Individuals who have been employed for at least 30 calendar day, may receive up to an additional 10 weeks of paid expanded family and medical leave at two-thirds pay if they are caring for a child whose school or day care is closed or unavailable. Up to $200 daily or $10,000 total.

Leave for eligible part-time employees is based on the number of hours they are normally scheduled to work over that period.

Where leave is foreseeable, employees should notify their employers about their situation and should know that the employers might require them to provide certain information to continue receiving sick time pay.

The FFCRA does provide some exemptions. 

If it would threaten the viability of their business, small businesses with fewer than 50 employees could be exempt from the requirement to provide leave if schools close or child care is unavailable.

Employers of health care providers or emergency responders are not required to provide these employees with paid sick leave or family medical leave.

The following information is from the U.S. Department of Labor website.
 

Am I eligible for paid sick or medical leave?

Covered Employers: The paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave provisions of the FFCRA apply to certain public employers, and private employers with fewer than 500 employees. Most employees of the federal government are covered by Title II of the Family and Medical Leave Act, which was not amended by this Act, and are therefore not covered by the expanded family and medical leave provisions of the FFCRA. However, federal employees covered by Title II of the Family and Medical Leave Act are covered by the paid sick leave provision.

Small businesses with fewer than 50 employees may qualify for exemption from the requirement to provide leave due to school closings or child care unavailability if the leave requirements would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern.

Eligible Employees: All employees of covered employers are eligible for two weeks of paid sick time for specified reasons related to COVID-19. Employees employed for at least 30 days are eligible for up to an additional 10 weeks of paid family leave to care for a child under certain circumstances related to COVID-19.

What are the qualifying reasons for paid leave?

Under the FFCRA, an employee qualifies for paid sick time if the employee is unable to work, or unable to telework, due to a need for leave because the employee:

  1. is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;
  2. has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine related to COVID-19;
  3. is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and is seeking a medical diagnosis;
  4. is caring for an individual subject to an order described in (1) or self-quarantine as described in (2);
  5. is caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed (or child care provider is unavailable) for reasons related to COVID-19; or
  6. is experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Secretaries of Labor and Treasury.

Under the FFCRA, an employee qualifies for expanded family leave if the employee is caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed (or child care provider is unavailable) for reasons related to COVID-19.

The following information about exemptions for small businesses, health care providers and emergency responders, along with many other topics, comes from the Department of Labor Q&A about the FFCRA.

When does the small business exemption apply to exclude a small business from the provisions of the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act?

An employer, including a religious or nonprofit organization, with fewer than 50 employees (small business) is exempt from providing (a) paid sick leave due to school or place of care closures or child care provider unavailability for COVID-19 related reasons and (b) expanded family and medical leave due to school or place of care closures or child care provider unavailability for COVID-19 related reasons when doing so would jeopardize the viability of the small business as a going concern. A small business may claim this exemption if an authorized officer of the business has determined that:

  • The provision of paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave would result in the small business’s expenses and financial obligations exceeding available business revenues and cause the small business to cease operating at a minimal capacity;  
  • The absence of the employee or employees requesting paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave would entail a substantial risk to the financial health or operational capabilities of the small business because of their specialized skills, knowledge of the business, or responsibilities; or  
  • There are not sufficient workers who are able, willing, and qualified, and who will be available at the time and place needed, to perform the labor or services provided by the employee or employees requesting paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave, and these labor or services are needed for the small business to operate at a minimal capacity.

Who is a “health care provider” who may be excluded by their employer from paid sick leave and/or expanded family and medical leave?

For the purposes of Employees who may be exempted from Paid Sick Leave or Expanded Family and Medical Leave by their Employer under the FFCRA, a health care provider is anyone employed at any doctor’s office, hospital, health care center, clinic, post-secondary educational institution offering health care instruction, medical school, local health department or agency, nursing facility, retirement facility, nursing home, home health care provider, any facility that performs laboratory or medical testing, pharmacy, or any similar institution, Employer, or entity. This includes any permanent or temporary institution, facility, location, or site where medical services are provided that are similar to such institutions. 
 
This definition includes any individual employed by an entity that contracts with any of these institutions described above to provide services or to maintain the operation of the facility where that individual’s services support the operation of the facility. This also includes anyone employed by any entity that provides medical services, produces medical products, or is otherwise involved in the making of COVID-19 related medical equipment, tests, drugs, vaccines, diagnostic vehicles, or treatments. This also includes any individual that the highest official of a State or territory, including the District of Columbia, determines is a health care provider necessary for that State’s or territory’s or the District of Columbia’s response to COVID-19. 
 
To minimize the spread of the virus associated with COVID-19, the Department encourages employers to be judicious when using this definition to exempt health care providers from the provisions of the FFCRA. For example, an employer may decide to exempt these employees from leave for caring for a family member, but choose to provide them paid sick leave in the case of their own COVID-19 illness.

Who is an emergency responder?

For the purposes of Employees who may be excluded from Paid Sick Leave or Expanded Family and Medical Leave by their Employer under the FFCRA, an emergency responder is anyone necessary for the provision of transport, care, healthcare, comfort and nutrition of such patients, or others needed for the response to COVID-19. This includes but is not limited to military or national guard, law enforcement officers, correctional institution personnel, fire fighters, emergency medical services personnel, physicians, nurses, public health personnel, emergency medical technicians, paramedics, emergency management personnel, 911 operators, child welfare workers and service providers, public works personnel, and persons with skills or training in operating specialized equipment or other skills needed to provide aid in a declared emergency, as well as individuals who work for such facilities employing these individuals and whose work is necessary to maintain the operation of the facility. This also includes any individual whom the highest official of a State or territory, including the District of Columbia, determines is an emergency responder necessary for that State’s or territory’s or the District of Columbia’s response to COVID-19. 
 
To minimize the spread of the virus associated with COVID-19, the Department encourages employers to be judicious when using this definition to exempt emergency responders from the provisions of the FFCRA. For example, an employer may decide to exempt these employees from leave for caring for a family member, but choose to provide them paid sick leave in the case of their own COVID-19 illness.

If I am a small business with fewer than 50 employees, am I exempt from the requirements to provide paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave?

A small business is exempt from certain paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave requirements if providing an employee such leave would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern. This means a small business is exempt from mandated paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave requirements only if the:

  • Employer employs fewer than 50 employees;
  • Leave is requested because the child’s school or place of care is closed, or child care provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19 related reasons; and
  • An authorized officer of the business has determined that at least one of the three conditions described in Question 58 is satisfied.

The Department encourages employers and employees to collaborate to reach the best solution for maintaining the business and ensuring employee safety. 

For detailed information about coronavirus and the workplace, visit the U.S. Department of Labor website.