Lost Your Job Because of The Coronavirus? You May Have a Lawsuit!
Congress recently passed a law given employees the right to paid leave and paid sick time related to the Coronavirus. The law is called the “Families First Coronavirus Response Act” (FFCRA).
Here's What You'll Get, If You Qualify:
Generally, the Act provides that employees of covered employers are eligible for:
- Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick time at the employee’s regular rate of pay where the employee is unable to work because the employee is quarantined (pursuant to Federal, State, or local government order or advice of a health care provider), and/or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis; or
- Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick time at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay because the employee is unable to work because of a bona fide need to care for an individual subject to quarantine (pursuant to Federal, State, or local government order or advice of a health care provider), or to care for a child (under 18 years of age) whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19, and/or the employee is experiencing a substantially similar condition as specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Secretaries of the Treasury and Labor; and
- Up to an additional 10 weeks of paid family leave at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay where an employee, who has been employed for at least 30 calendar days, is unable to work due to a bona fide need for leave to care for a child whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19.
When Should I Call A Workers' Comp Lawyer Regarding Paid Sick Time?
Here is a helpful flow chart our workers' comp lawyers put together to determine if you qualify for paid leave. It is not legally “all inclusive,” but it will help you determine whether it is appropriate for you to contact our law firm. If your answer is “Yes” to all of these questions, we would like to hear from you:
- Do you work for either (1) private employer or (2) a public employer other than the federal government?
Note: Employees of the Federal Government are not entitled to this leave or paid sick time under this particular law.
- Does your employer have fewer than 500 employees?
Note: Larger employers are not required to provide this paid leave. Employers with fewer than 50 employees may also apply for an exemption related to child care in some circumstances.
- Have you been employed for at least 30 days by this employer?
Note: If “Yes”, you qualify for the additional 10 weeks of paid leave. If not, you are currently limited to 2 weeks of paid leave.
- Were you terminated, laid off, or denied paid leave by the employer?
Note: If you haven’t asked your employer for leave yet, preferably in writing, you would need to do so before making a claim. This is true even if your employer implied that it would not provide leave.
- Are you unable to telework?
Note: If your job offers you the option of telework, and you can reasonably do it, you cannot get paid leave.
- Were you terminated or denied paid leave after doing one of the following things?
- Notifying your employer that you were diagnosed with coronavirus by a doctor or hospital;
- Notifying your employer that you need time off to care for an immediate family member who was diagnosed with coronavirus; or
- Notifying an employer that you need time off to care for a child (under 18 years old) whose school or child care facility has closed due to coronavirus concerns.
What Are the “Qualifying Reasons for Leave and Paid Sick Time”?
Under the new law, an employee qualifies for paid sick time if he or she is unable to work (or unable to telework) due to a need for leave because the employee:
- is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;
- has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine related to COVID-19;
- is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and is seeking a medical diagnosis;
- is caring for an individual subject to an order described in (1) or self-quarantine as described in (2);
- is caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed (or child care provider is unavailable) for reasons related to COVID-19; or
- is experiencing any other substantially-similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Secretaries of Labor and Treasury.
Under the FFCRA, an employee qualifies for expanded family leave if the employee is caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed (or child care provider is unavailable) for reasons related to COVID-19.
How Long Do I Get Leave?
For reasons (1)-(4) and (6): A full-time employee is eligible for 80 hours of leave, and a part-time employee is eligible for the number of hours of leave that the employee works on average over a two-week period.
For reason (5): A full-time employee is eligible for up to 12 weeks of leave (two weeks of paid sick leave followed by up to 10 weeks of paid expanded family & medical leave) at 40 hours a week, and a part-time employee is eligible for leave for the number of hours that the employee is normally scheduled to work over that period.
How Do I Calculate My Leave Pay?
For reasons (1), (2), or (3): employees taking leave are entitled to pay at either their regular rate or the applicable minimum wage, whichever is higher, up to $511 per day and $5,110 in the aggregate (over a 2-week period).
For reasons (4) or (6): employees taking leave are entitled to pay at 2/3 their regular rate or 2/3 the applicable minimum wage, whichever is higher, up to $200 per day and $2,000 in the aggregate (over a 2-week period).
For reason (5): employees taking leave are entitled to pay at 2/3 their regular rate or 2/3 the applicable minimum wage, whichever is higher, up to $200 per day and $12,000 in the aggregate (over a 12-week period).
Note: Paid sick time provided under this Act does not carryover from one year to the next. Employees are not entitled to reimbursement for unused leave upon termination, resignation, retirement, or other separation from employment.
What Else Should I Consider Regarding Paid Sick Time Due to COVID-19?
- After the first workday of paid sick time, an employer may require employees to follow reasonable notice procedures in order to continue receiving paid sick time.
- Special rules apply to Health Care Providers and Emergency Responders. For more on that, see the Department of Labor’s website at www.dol.gov.
Is the Law Going to Change?
The laws are always changing, and Congress may update or change the rules as the outbreak continues.
If you have questions about your qualification for paid sick time, personal injury, workers' compensation or other employment-related concerns, give our attorneys a call - we can help! Just call (404) 800-5297 or fill out our online contact form for your FREE consultation! Don't take any chances, hire the Big Guns.
More benefits may become available. You may wish to visit this page again daily, as additional updates may be published.