The United States Department of Labor has resources citizens can reach out to for help when preparing for the COVID-19 virus, also known as Coronavirus. These are some brief explanations to guide those looking at being off from work during these troubling times.
Wage and Hour Division
The U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) is responsible for providing information on common issues faced by employees and employers as they respond to the Coronavirus.
The DOL has created what is called the FFCRA (Families First Coronavirus Response Act) and it relates directly to wages and hours worked by employees under the FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act), job protection under the FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act), as well as expanded medical and family leave, and paid sick leave.
It is the hope of the federal government that the FFCRA will help in providing financial assistance during this pandemic. This Act is giving all American businesses which employ fewer than 500 employees the money to provide their employees with paid sick and child care leave. This leave will be issued for their own health needs or those of a family member.
This legislation is making sure that employees are not forced to choose between public health and safety and their paycheck..
The FFCRA (Families First Coronavirus Response Act) provides:
Up to eighty (80) hours, or two weeks, of paid sick leave at the employee’s regular wage if they are unable to work due to quarantine, or if they are experiencing Coronavirus symptoms and are seeking medical attention
Up to eighty (80) hours, or two weeks, of paid sick leave at two-thirds their regular wage if the employee is unable to work due having to provide care to someone quarantined, a child under 18 years of age whose school or daycare has closed due to the virus, or who is experiencing symptoms of the virus
An additional ten weeks of paid expanded medical and family leave at two-thirds their regular wage or salary to an employee who been employed for at least thirty calendar days and is unable to work due to a need to care for a minor child whose school or daycare has closed due to the virus.
The FFCRA applies to specific public employers and private employers who have less than 500 employees. Most federal employees are covered under Title II of the Family and Medical Leave Act, which has not been affected by this new Act. These federal employees are covered by Title II of the Family and Medical Leave Act and will be covered by the paid sick leave of that provision.
If an employee knows ahead of time that they will require leave, they should notify their employer with as much advance notice as possible.
After an employee has had one day of paid sick time, their employer can require the employee to follow notice procedures in order to continue receiving their sick pay.