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What Should Employees Know About the COVID-19 Paid Leave Act?

March 25th, 2020

During this time of uncertainty among employees, it is important to stay updated on the status of the new paid leave legislation. United States employees are struggling during this difficult time and are relying on their employers and the government to provide adequate financial support. Employees should stay informed on the new employment laws and how it will benefit them.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) was signed into law on March 18, 2020 and will expire on December 31, 2020. This act is in response to the recent COVID-19 pandemic and requires employers to provide temporary paid family and sick leave to employees directly impacted by the Coronavirus. The FFCRA includes two separate laws that impose paid leave to employees that work for a company with less than 500 workers. Most of the workers in the United States work for companies with more than 500 workers, so this is where this new act becomes tricky. Nonetheless, all employees, regardless of the size of the company, should be updated on all leave laws being passed at this time.

Many states have passed separate leave acts that will apply to all employees, not just those in the in the selected range. Congress has been assessing new laws that would protect any employee who experiences symptoms or are awaiting a COVID-19 test.

Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act

This law, under the FFCRA, requires employers who have less than 500 employees to provide up to 12 weeks of leave related to a public health emergency, to care for a child who is out of school, or any other qualifying need related to COVID-19. The first 10 days may consist of unpaid leave or substituted accrued paid leave. After the 10-day period, employers must provide paid leave for each additional day. The rate of pay is equal to two-thirds of regular pay and based on the normal rate of hours. This act differs from the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) for a few reasons, including the capped number of employees a company can have to qualify and mileage radius in relation to the employee’s work site.

Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act

The Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) requires private employers with less than 500 workers to provide sick leave to employees who are unable to work due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Rate of pay is determined by multiple factors, including isolation orders, self-quarantine, or a COVID-19 diagnosis. Employees will be paid based on their full-time or part-time hours. Full-time employees are entitled to 80 hours of paid leave while part-time workers are given their average amount of hours worked over a two-week period. This act applies to any employee, regardless of how long they worked for their employer. However, there are certain caps associated with this act, depending on the specific reason for leave.

Paid sick leave acts are put in place to help employees during difficult times in our country. It is imperative for employees to update themselves on the newest COVID-19 legislations and to ensure that their employer is following government leave protocol.

Philadelphia Employment Lawyers at The Gold Law Firm P.C. Fight for Workers’ Rights to Proper Compensation

If you were mistreated by your employer and not given the proper leave you deserve, contact the Philadelphia employment lawyers at The Gold Law Firm P.C. We understand the ongoing circumstances with the COVID-19 pandemic and can help you understand the current paid sick laws. Call us today at 215-569-1999 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia and Pennsauken, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout southeastern Pennsylvania and South Jersey, including Wilkes-Barre, Scranton, northeast Philadelphia, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, and Montgomery County.

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