New legislation passed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic allows certain workers to receive paid sick leave even if their employer previously did not provide it. In March, the federal government enacted the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). This law assists employers that give their employees paid time off while suffering the effects of COVID-19.
Under this legislation, private employers with fewer than 500 employees are eligible for tax credits that offset the compensation given to workers who are absent because of the virus. The temporary rule is effective from April 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020. Other elements of the law include:
Amount of paid sick leave hours that will be reimbursed — The law enables employers to provide employees up to 80 hours of paid sick leave if they need to miss work due to COVID-19-related illness.
Reasons for authorizing sick leave — As part of the legislation, the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act compensates employers for payments made to workers who have been advised by a doctor to self-quarantine or who are responsible for the care of someone who has been told to isolate themselves. The law also applies when someone is seeking medical attention for COVID-19 symptoms.
Child care provisions —The new law also provides direction for the effective administration of the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA). This measure requires that specific employers give up to 10 weeks of paid, and two weeks unpaid, emergency family and medical leave if they need to remain home because the COVID-19 threat closes their child’s school or place of care, or if their regular child care provider is unavailable.
If your job, or the job of someone you love, is adversely affected because of a documented or suspected COVID-19 illness, it is wise to consult with a knowledgeable employment law attorney who can explain the new sick leave law and help you understand your rights.
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