The coronavirus pandemic, which has caused our economy to come to a grinding halt, has had a drastic impact on our country’s workers. To help aid workers in their time of need, Congress recently signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) into law. The FFCRA provides certain employees with paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19.
To qualify for the FFCRA, the employee must work for either a public employer (excluding certain federal employees covered by Title II of the Family and Medical Leave Act) or a private employer with fewer than 500 employees.
For eligible individuals, the FFCRA provides the following relief:
1.Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave (at the greater of 100% of employee’s regular rate of pay or the applicable minimum wage, but not to exceed $511/day, which is $5,110 total) where the employee is unable to work — including remotely — because the employee was quarantined and/or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis, or;
2. Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave (at the greater of 66.67% of employee’s regular rate of pay or 66.67% of the applicable minimum wage, but not to exceed $200/day, which is $2,000 total), because the employee cannot work — including remotely — due to a bona fide need to care for an individual subject to quarantine, or to care for a child whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable due to COVID-19, and/or the employee is experiencing a substantially similar condition as specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Secretaries of the Treasury and Labor, and;
3. Up to an additional 10 weeks of paid expanded family and medical leave (at the greater of 66.67% of employee’s regular rate of pay or 66.67% of the applicable minimum wage, but not to exceed $200/day ($12,000 total) because an employee, who has been employed for at least 30 calendar days, is unable to work — including remotely — due to a bona fide need for leave to care for a child whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19.
While provisions one and two apply to all covered employees, provision three only applies to those employees who have worked for at least 30 days.
Interestingly, while an employer may require a doctor’s note to provide such leave, the FFCRA is unclear as to whether the doctor’s note is actually required before providing such leave. Thus, it’s best to provide the doctor’s note to your employer, if feasible.
If you are in need of leave to take care of yourself or a loved one and your employer does not provide you with this federally mandated leave, you may be entitled to damages under federal law. Shavitz Law Group is here to help. If you have any questions about this new law or other employment-related issues, please do not hesitate to call us at (800) 616-4000.