This is a time of uncertainty. The COVID-19 outbreak has left many unable to work, either due to illness or business closures. Being out of work naturally brings on financial concerns. Many Americans are wondering when they will return to work and how they will bring in income during this stressful time.
Fortunately, both new and previously existing laws are in place to provide relief to employees in emergency situations such as these. Employment law attorney Kelly Chanfrau recently made an important presentation via Facebook Live regarding new laws for paid leave in emergency situations.
Family First Coronavirus Response Act
The Family First Coronavirus Response Act is a new law that has been put in place to meet the needs of the people who are facing unemployment as a result of this virus. This law goes into place April 2, 2020 and will remain effective through December 31, 2020. During her presentation, Kelly Chanfrau provided an overview of this new law, and who it can help.
Who Is Eligible for the New Emergency Paid Leave?
The new emergency paid leave laws apply to both full and part-time workers. Government employers, public employers, private employers, and non-profits all must adhere to these laws, provided that their business employs more than one person and fewer than 500. Businesses with more than 500 employees are exempt from the new emergency paid leave laws. These laws also do not apply to health care providers or emergency responders, unless their employer chooses to offer it to them.
Eligible workers qualify for sick leave under these new laws if they are unable to work or telecommute for any of the following reasons:
- You are subject to a Federal or local quarantine/isolation order
- You have been advised by a healthcare worker to self-quarantine
- You are seeking diagnosis for potential symptoms of COVID-19
How Much Pay Can I Expect?
The amount of pay a person can receive under the new emergency paid leave laws depends on the number of hours a person works and the rate of pay.
- Full-time employees: Full-time employees are due 80 hours of sick pay at their regular rate of pay. This is not to exceed $511 per day or $5,110 total.
- Part-time employees: Part-time employees will be paid based on the average number of hours they work in a two-week period. They will be paid their normal rate of pay for these hours. Payment is not to exceed $200 per day or $2,000 total.
Emergency Family and Medical Leave Act Expansion
In addition to the new emergency paid leave laws, an expansion has been added to the previously existing Family and Medical Leave Act, or FMLA. The FMLA expansion allows workers to apply for leave if they are unable to work or telecommute because they have to care for a child under the age of 18 due to school or daycare closures, or an unavailable childcare worker as a result of COVID-19 concerns.
Workers who apply for FMLA are entitled to 10 days of job-protected unpaid leave followed by 10 weeks of pay at two-thirds of their regular rate of pay. FMLA pay is not to exceed $200 per day or $10,000 total.
What If My Employer Does Not Comply?
Employers are required to comply with local and federal employment laws and emergency leave acts. If an employer refuses to comply, their employees can report them. Further, employees cannot be punished or retaliated against for requesting leave, or for reporting an employer’s failure to comply to the law.
If an employee does not receive the compensation they are due, or if they are wrongfully retaliated against, legal action can be taken. Employees in these situations may be due compensation for back pay, front pay, liquidated damages, and attorney fees.
Contact Our Practice
If you have further questions about these new laws, or believe that you are being denied your right to emergency leave or pay, the attorneys at Chanfrau & Chanfrau can help. To schedule a personal consultation with one of our knowledgeable employment law attorneys, call our Daytona Beach, FL office at (866) 610-0653.