COVID - 19 Employee Rights

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Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Employee Paid Leave Rights

 

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA or Act) requires certain employers to provide employees with paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. The Department of Labor’s (Department) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) administers and enforces paid leave requirements under the new law. These provisions will apply from the effective date through December 31, 2020.

 

Generally, the Act provides that employees of covered employers are eligible for:

 

·         Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave at the employee’s regular rate of pay where the employee is unable to work because the employee is quarantined (pursuant to Federal, State, or local government order or advice of a healthcare provider), and/or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis; or

 

·         Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay because the employee is unable to work because of a bona fide need to care for an individual subject to quarantine (pursuant to Federal, State, or local government order or advice of a healthcare provider), or to care for a child (under 18 years of age) whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related 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

 

·         Up to an additional 10 weeks of paid expanded family and medical leave at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay where an employee, who has been employed for at least 30 calendar days, is unable to work 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.

 

Your Rights Under FMLA

FMLA requires covered employers to provide up to twelve (12) calendar weeks of paid or unpaid, job-protected leave to "eligible" employees for certain family and medical reasons. Employees are “eligible” if they have worked for a covered employer for at least one year, and for 1,250 hours over the previous twelve (12)  months, and if there are at least fifty (50) employees within the 75 miles.

 

REASONS FOR TAKING LEAVE: Paid or unpaid leave must be granted for any of the following reasons:

 

·         To care for the employee's child after birth, or placement for adoption or foster care.

·         To care for the employee's spouse, son, daughter, parent or domestic partner who has a serious health condition.

·         For a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the employee's job.

 

ADVANCE NOTICE AND MEDICAL CERTIFICATION: The employee may be required to provide advance leave notice and medical certification. Taking of leave may be denied if requirements are not met.

 

 ·         The employee ordinarily must provide thirty (30) days advance notice when the leave is "foreseeable.”

·       An employer may require medical certification to support a request for leave because of a serious health condition, and may require second or third opinions (at the employer's expense) and a fitness for duty report to return to work.

 

JOB BENEFITS AND PROTECTION:

 

·         For the duration of FMLA leave, the employer must maintain the employee's health coverage under any group health plan.

·         Upon return from FMLA leave, most employees must be restored to their original position or equivalent positions with equivalent pay, benefits and other employment terms.

·         The use of the FMLA leave cannot result in the loss of any employment benefit that accrued prior to the start of an employee's leave.