The legislature recently enacted the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) to help employees and small businesses deal with the economic impact of social distancing and limitations on businesses. The FFCRA allows certain employees to receive paid sick leave, in addition to protecting their employment under specified circumstances. Employees who may receive sick leave include those who test positive for the coronavirus or who are ordered to quarantine themselves because of exposure to the virus or are suffering coronavirus symptoms and seeking a diagnosis. Other employees who may be entitled to sick leave include employees who must stay home to care for someone who tests positive for the virus, or whose children are home due to school or childcare facility closures. The weekly amount of paid leave and the length of time to which an employee is entitled to leave depends on the circumstances that qualify the employee for paid leave. For details, you can review a summary of the paid leave benefit on the Department of Labor website at https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-employee-paid-leave.
The FFCRA requires small businesses (those with fewer than 500 employees) to provide this paid sick leave, to keep the employee’s job open for them, and prohibits the employer from taking any actions against the employee in retaliation for taking the sick leave. Employers also cannot require an employee to use other paid leave before using the paid sick time provided in the new legislation or require an employee to find a replacement to cover his or her scheduled work hours.
There are several exceptions to the FFCRA, so not all employees of small businesses automatically qualify.
If you have any questions about any of these laws or have another workplace issue that you would like to discuss, please contact us for a free consultant at [email protected] or 800-616-4000.
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