Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act in Response to COVID-19
The Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (“Act”) is part of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act enacted into law on March 18, 2020. The Act provides separate benefits from the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act that was signed into law on the same day. This Act addresses the issue of paid sick leave for employees during the Coronavirus Pandemic. The Act goes into effect on April 2, 2020 and expires on December 31, 2020. The Act applies to all employers with less than 500 employees. It also applies to all governmental entities.
The Act requires the employer to provide paid sick leave to any employee that is unable to work or telework due to any of the following conditions: (1) the employee is subject to coronavirus quarantine or isolation order; (2) the employee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to coronavirus concerns; (3) the employee is experiencing symptoms of coronavirus and is seeking a medical diagnosis; (4) the employee is caring for an individual described in (1) or (2); (5) the employee is caring for their son or daughter whose school or place of care is closed as a result of coronavirus precaution; and (6) the employee is experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury and Secretary of Labor. Employers of employees who are health care providers or emergency responders may elect to exclude their employees from the protections provided by the Act.
A full time employee is entitled to 80 hours of paid sick leave. A part time employee is entitled to the average number of hours worked in a two-week period. The paid sick time is available for immediate use regardless of how long the employee has been working for the employer. Paid sick leave under the Act shall terminate on the employees next scheduled work-shift after the need for paid sick leave has ended.
The required compensation for employees that are taking paid sick leave for themselves under conditions (1) through (3) is the greater amount of: (a) their regular rate of pay; (b) the federal minimum wage; or the greater amount of the applicable state or local minimum wage where the employee is employed. The required compensation for employees that are taking paid sick leave to care for family members under (3) through (6) above shall be paid the greater amount of two-thirds of: (a) their regular rate of pay; b) the federal minimum wage; or the greater amount of the applicable state or local minimum wage where the employee is employed.
The amount of paid sick leave an employee may receive under the Act is limited. Employees taking paid sick leave for themselves may not receive more than $511 per day, with the total amount of paid sick leave being capped at $5,110. The amount of paid sick leave for an employee on leave to care for his or her family members is limited to $200 per day, with the total amount of paid sick leave being capped at $2,000. The wages required to be paid under the Act will not be subject to the 6.2 percent social security payroll tax typically paid by employers on employees’ wages.
Employees that are subject to a multiemployer collective bargaining agreement that receive contributions into their pension plans from their employer may secure paid sick leave from the plan based on the hours they have worked under the multiemployer collective bargaining agreement.
Each employer is required to post the requirements of this Act for review by its employees. The Act provides that the Secretary of Labor shall provide a model notice to be posed no later than 7 days after the date of enactment. Employers are prohibited from requiring that the employee search for a replacement employee to cover the hours they will be out on paid sick time. Employers may not require an employee to use any other paid leave provided by the employer before utilizing the paid sick time provided by the Act. An employer may not discharge, discipline, or in any other manner discriminate against any employee who (1) takes leave in accordance with the Act; and (2) has filed any complaint or instituted any proceeding under or related to the Act.
Please contact the attorneys at Bruning & Associates, P.C. at 815-455-3000 if you have any questions regarding the Act and how it applies to you.
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