Sick Leave During COVID-19 Pandemic
These last few months have been challenging for us all during this COVID pandemic.
Some of us experienced sickness and death of our loved ones as far back as January 2020 unaware of what was still to come. At times it felt as if we were living out a horror movie or a nightmare. Each day held unpredicted, uncertain, and unexpected circumstances. The earth was shaken; we were shaken then came the storm, wind and the rain. All of a sudden our loved ones were no longer with us. Our homes became our office and a channel to educate our children. The demands placed on family caregivers, essential and frontline workers rose to unprecedented exhaustion. Survival mode kicked in and our financial instability was shaken as we attempted to try to make sense of it all.
Making sense of it all required us to utilize the resources available. The recent stimulus checks and increase in unemployment benefits was much needed help. In addition, there are additional resources that we should be aware of for financial and/or job security. The Family Medical Leave Act entitles eligible employees of covered employers to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons with continuation of group health insurance coverage under the same terms and conditions as if the employee had not taken leave. The only type of family and medical leave that is paid leave is expanded family and medical leave under the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act when such leave exceeds ten days. This includes only leave taken because the employee must care for a child whose school or place of care is closed, or childcare provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19 related reasons.
Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which includes the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act. The FFCRA’s paid leave provisions applies to leaves taken between April 1, 2020, and December 31, 2020. The FFCRA amends the Family Medical Leave Act to grant emergency FMLA leave when an employee is needed to care for a son or daughter when the need is related to a public health emergency (PHE) that results in a school closure, place of care closure, or unavailability of the son or daughter's normal childcare provider.
FFCRAA provides employees with the followings:
Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave 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 leave 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.
Up to an additional 10 weeks of paid expanded family and medical 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.
With the possibility of school reopening and returning back to the workforce it is essential to take time to review your options and consult with your Human Resources Department on what your organization is able to provide. Please click on the link below for further information and answers to your questions.
Source from US department of labor/wages and salaries