COVID-19 FAQs

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FAMILIES FIRST HR 6201 - EMERGENCY PAID SICK LEAVE ACT

An employer is required to provide paid sick leave to a full-time or part-time employee who is unable
to work (or telework) due to a need for leave because of one of the following circumstances:

  1. The employee is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID–19
  2. The employee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19
  3. The employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis
  4. The employee is caring for an individual who is subject to an order as described in point (1) or has been advised as described in point (2)
  5. The employee is caring for a son or daughter, of such employee, if the school or place of care of the son or daughter has been closed, or the childcare provider of  such son or daughter is unavailable due to COVID–19 precautions
  6. The employee is experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Labor. Except that an employer of an employee who is a health care provider or an emergency responder may elect to exclude such employee from the application of this subsection.

Private, individual and public businesses are eligible with some exclusions:

  1. Private entity or individual with fewer than 500 employees are subject to the statute.
  2. Public agency or any other entity that is not a private entity or individual, with 1 or more employees

The Secretary of Labor has authority to:

  1. exclude certain healthcare providers and emergency responders
  2. small employers with fewer than 50 employees where the added expense would jeopardize the business.

Under certain circumstances, the requirement to restore employees to their employment will not apply to businesses with fewer than 25 employees.

Full-time or part-time employees are unable to work (or telework) due to a need for leave because of one of the circumstances listed in (Q1). Unlike the FMLA expansion, there is no tenure requirement.

However, an employer of employees who are healthcare providers or emergency responders may exclude these employees. Employers appear to have the discretion to exclude health care providers and emergency responders, though this language of the statute is in tension with the delegation of rulemaking authority to the Secretary of Labor to determine such exemptions.

Immediately, regardless of how long the employee has been employed by an employer. There is no accrual or waiting period.

Employees who are unable to telework may use this leave for COVID-19 related medical leave, including self-isolation due to a positive COVID-19 diagnosis; obtaining a medical diagnosis or care if the employee is experiencing coronavirus symptoms; complying with a recommendation or order of a public health official or healthcare provider; caring for a family member who is self-isolating because of a positive diagnosis or experiencing coronavirus symptoms; or is experiencing any other “substantially similar condition” specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services in consultation with the Secretary of Treasury and the Secretary of Labor.

As with the FMLA component above, coverage will also be triggered where an employee must care for a child following the closure of a school or daycare, or other unavailability of childcare due to the coronavirus.

Paid sick time is calculated based on the employee’s required compensation and shall not be less than the greater of the following:

  1. The employee’s regular rate of pay
  2. The minimum wage rate in effect
  3. The minimum wage rate in effect for such employee in the applicable State or locality, whichever is greater, in which the employee is employed.

Paid sick time shall not exceed:

  1. $511 per day and $5,110 in the aggregate for a use described in Q 1 (1), (2), or (3)
  2. $200 per day and $2,000 in the aggregate for a use described in Q 1 (4), (5), or (6);

The number of hours of paid sick time to which an employee is entitled shall be as follows:

  1. For full-time employees, 80 hours.
  2. For part-time employees, a number of hours equal to the number of hours that such employee works, on average, over a 2-week period.

Paid sick time under this Act cannot carry over from 1 year to the next calendar year.

This leave is to be given in addition to any required paid leave provided by state or local law.

Yes. Paid sick leave requirements will automatically expire on December 31, 2020.

Failure to pay sick leave will be treated as a minimum wage violation under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Remedies for a private cause of action include unpaid wages, liquidated damages (double damages), attorneys’ fees and costs. Employers should be conscious of the heightened risk for a collective action for failure to comply, as well as the potential for personal liability for owners, corporate officers, and other supervisors provided by the FLSA.

Discrimination or retaliation against employees who take leave under the Act or file a complaint relating to the Act is also prohibited. Employers contemplating cost saving measures, including a reduction in force, layoff, or hours reduction, against employees availing themselves to this benefit are strongly encouraged to seek legal counsel to assess risk.

Each employer shall post and keep posted, in conspicuous places on the premises of the employer where notices to employees are customarily posted, a notice, to be prepared or approved by the Secretary of Labor, of the requirements described in this Act.

Within seven days from enactment, the Secretary of Labor will provide a model of a notice that meets the above requirements.

Employees who work under a multiemployer collective bargaining agreement into which their employers make contributions to a multiemployer fund, plan, or program may secure pay from such fund, plan, or program based on hours they have worked under the multiemployer collective bargaining agreement.

Careers Limit
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