Paid Sick Leave
The sick leave provision in the FFCRA applies to public employers, including all school systems regardless of the number of employees in the district. It also applies to many private employers. The provision goes into effect April 2, 2020, and expires Dec. 31, 2020.
The Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act section requires employers to offer paid sick leave to any employee, regardless of how long the employee has been employed. Full-time employees are provided 80 hours (two weeks) of sick leave. Part-time workers are provided sick leave days that equal the number of hours they would work over two weeks. Sick leave days provided under the FFCRA are in addition to any sick leave provided to the employee. Employers will not be responsible for paying for sick leave once the act terminates after the public health emergency ends. The sick leave provision is not retroactive, so it does not apply to any date prior to April 2.
An employee is eligible for paid sick leave as defined in the FFCRA if he or she:
- Is subject to a government quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;
- Has been advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine due to COVID-19;
- Has symptoms of COVID-19 and is seeking a medical diagnosis;
- Is caring for an individual subject to either of the first two bullets;
- Needs to care for a child whose school or place of care is closed or whose childcare provider is unavailable due to coronavirus; or,
- Is experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services
Sick leave is paid at the employee’s regular pay rate if used for leave reasons one through three listed above. However, pay is capped at $511 per day and $5,110 in total. These amounts correspond with the tax credits being offered to employers to assist in offsetting employers’ FFCRA implementation costs.
Sick leave is paid at two-thirds the employee’s regular pay rate if used for reasons four through six listed above. Sick leave pay under these criteria is capped at $200 per day and $2,000 total to correspond with the tax credits.
Employers are prohibited from requiring that employees find a replacement worker for their hours missed. Employers are also not permitted to discipline or terminate the employment of an employee who utilizes the increased sick leave. If an employer does not provide the leave required under the act, the employer will be obligated to provide both back pay and statutory damages equal to the amount of back pay. Employers are also not permitted to require an employee to use existing paid leave before using sick time allowed by FFCRA.