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Facts for Families

On March 18, 2020, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) was signed into law and requires employers with less than 500 employees to provide a certain amount of paid sick and paid leave to employees affected by COVID-19. One piece of that act, the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA), provides employees with two additional weeks of paid sick leave paid at the employee’s regular rate if they have been involved in any of the following activities related to the coronavirus:

  • Self-isolation
  • Diagnosed with COVID-19
  • Experiencing symptoms of COVID-19
  • Providing care for someone diagnosed with COVID-19
  • Caring for his/her child because school is closed or the child care provider is unavailable due to the coronavirus pandemic

Employers need to understand:

  • The two weeks is in addition to PTO the employee already has
  • The employer may not alter an employee’s existing PTO
  • The employer is not permitted to force the employee to exhaust their regular PTO first.

All benefits under this Act would end as of 12/31/20. The Department of Labor may issue regulations to exempt certain groups from the requirements including (1) certain health-care providers and emergency responders from requirements that they offer paid family leave and paid sick leave and (2) small businesses with fewer than 50 employees, if it is deemed that such requirements would jeopardize the viability of the small business.

As an employee, you are entitled to your benefits. If you feel that your employer is not adhering to your rights, especially in these times of uncertainty, contact our firm today.

UPDATE: Since the publishing of our post, the Department of Labor has issued this poster providing additional guidance regarding the new job and PTO protections created by the FFCRA.

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