FEDERAL FMLA AND SICK TIME EXPANSIONS
The US Federal Legislature has passed a package of bills expanding sick leave and FMLA leave to workers affected by COVID 19. The following expansions will apply:
Emergency Paid Sick Leave: Private employers with less than 500 employees and all public employers are required to provide two weeks of paid sick leave at full pay to employees who cannot work or telework due to quarantine, isolation, or pending diagnosis.
- Qualifying Employees:
- Employee subject to federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order re: Covid-19;
- Employee advised by a health provider to self-quarantine related to concerns related to Covid-19 (e.g., protected health condition);
- Employee is symptomatic and is seeking a diagnosis;
- Employee is caring for someone in categories (i)or (ii);
- Employee is caring for child if school/childcare closed due to Covid-19 precautions.
- All employees as defined by FLSA (and certain federal employees)
- Employees are eligible regardless of how long they have been employed by an employer, if they qualify (above)
- Duration of Benefit:
- Full-Time Employees: 80 hours
- Part-Time Employees: Average number of hours worked over a two-week period (if schedule fluctuates, six-month average of hours)
- No carryover of unused benefits permitted from one year to next
- Amount of Benefit:
- Personal isolation/quarantine: Full pay at maximum of $511/day or $5,110 total
- Caregiving isolation/quarantine/childcare: 2/3 full pay at maximum of $200/day or $2,000 total
- Benefit is based on greater of federal minimum wage, state/local minimum wage, or employee’s regular rate of pay as defined by FLSA.
- Employee Protections:
- Employee cannot be required to find replacement to cover their hours while on sick leave
- Employee cannot be required to use any other accrued sick leave before taking this leave
- Employee cannot be fired, disciplined, or discharged for taking this leave
- Violations: Constitute failure to pay minimum wages under FLSA and subject to FLSA penalties.
- Effective Date: 15 days after enactment of statute and sunsetting 12/31/20
Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act: Amends key sections of FMLA to include time out of work due to childcare needs. Applies to private employers with less than 500 employees and all public employers.
- Qualifying Employees: Employees who have been employed for at least 30 calendar days. Certain health care providers and emergency responders exempted, as well as small businesses with less than 50 employees which can show that imposition of the requirements would jeopardize the ongoing viability of the business.
- Eligibility: Employees must be unable to work or telework due to absence of childcare for child under 18 if school or place of care closed or childcare provider unavailable
- Duration of Benefit: 12 weeks maximum
- Amount of Benefit: First 10 days is unpaid leave but employee may substitute any vacation, personal, or medical or sick leave provided by employer. After first 10 days, at least 2/3 an employee’s regular rate of pay (defined by FLSA) for the hours they are regularly scheduled to work (or if schedule varies, average number of hours for last six months)—but pay shall not exceed $200/day or $10,000 in total (for entirety of leave).
- Notice Requirements: Employees must provide as much notice “as practicable” if foreseeable
- Effective Date: 15 days after enactment and sunsetting 12/31/20