Reasons for Paid Sick Leave
– This portion of the new Act also significantly changed since we first saw the House pass its prior version. This Act now allows an eligible employee to take paid sick leave because the employee is:
1. subject to a federal, state or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;
2. advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to COVID-19 concerns;
3. experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking medical diagnosis;
4. caring for an individual subject to a federal, state or local quarantine or isolation order or advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to COVID-19 concerns;
5. caring for the employee’s child if the child’s school or place of care is closed or the child’s care provider is unavailable due to public health emergency; or
6. experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Labor.
Of note, caring for another who is subject to an isolation order or advised to self-quarantine as described above is no longer limited to just family members.
– This provision requires employers with
fewer than 500 employees
to provide full-time employees (regardless of the employee’s duration of employment prior to leave) with
80 hours of paid sick leave at the employee’s regular rate
(or two-thirds the employee’s regular rate to care for qualifying reasons 4, 5, or 6 listed above). An important change to this section provides an exception for employers who are healthcare providers or emergency responders at their election.
Cap on Paid Sick Leave Wages
– Another significant change to this Act places limits on paid sick leave. Specifically, paid sick leave wages are limited to $511 per day up to $5,110 total per employee for their own use and to $200 per day up to $2,000 total to care for others and any other substantially similar condition.
Carryover and Interaction with Other Paid Leave
– This paid sick leave will not carry over to the following year and may be in addition to any paid sick leave currently provided by employers.
Calculating Rate of Pay
– Employees who work a part-time or irregular schedule are entitled to be paid based on the average number of hours the employee worked for the six months prior to taking paid sick leave. Employees who have worked for less than six months prior to leave are entitled to the average number of hours the employee would normally be scheduled to work over a two-week period. A business employing fewer than 500 employees is required, at the request of the employee, to pay a full-time employee for 80 hours of mandated emergency paid sick leave instead of the initial 10 days of unpaid leave permitted by the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (summarized above).
Effective Date and Expiration
– This program will become effective 15 days after it is enacted by President Trump and remain in effect until December 31, 2020.