Employers With Fewer Than 500 Employees Must Pay Emergency Leave Benefits
Emergency Paid Leave Act
To address the national emergency caused by the Coronavirus that is crippling the business world and impacting employees, the federal government has passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act which includes the “Emergency Paid Leave Act.” This Act requires all Employers that employ fewer than 500 employees to pay “emergency leave benefits” to an employee who is unable to work due to one of the following COVID-19 related reasons:
- The worker has a current diagnosis of coronavirus;
- The worker is quarantined at the instruction of a healthcare provider, employer, or government office to prevent the spread of coronavirus;
- The worker is caring for another person who has coronavirus or is under quarantine related to coronavirus;
- The worker is caring for a child or other individual who is unable to care for themselves due to the closing of their school, childcare facility or other care program.
Duration of Paid Sick Leave
- 80 hours for all full-time employees
- The average number of hours (or an average over a 2-week period) for part-time employees
All employees are covered under the Act no matter how long the employee has been employed by the employer. The paid sick time shall be made available in addition to any employer-provided leave and the employer is prohibited from requiring an employee to use other paid leave which may be provided by the employer before the employee uses the paid sick time under the Act.
An employer is required to post a notice in a conspicuous place on the employer’s premise where notices to employees are consistently posted. Such notice must be prepared or approved by the Secretary of Labor. This notice is to be posted no later than 7 days after the date of enactment of the Act. The Secretary of Labor will make public an available model of a notice that satisfies this requirement.
This Act takes effect no later than 15 days after the date of the enactment of the law.
An employer that violates the Act would be considered to have failed to pay minimum wages in violation of Section 6 of the Fair Labor Standard Act and subject to penalties.