The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law that lets covered employees take extended time away from work, to handle certain family or medical needs. Many states have similar laws that may provide additional coverage above and beyond that outlined in the FMLA. Following is a brief discussion of employees' rights under the FMLA.
As the COVID-19 virus spreads, more families may need to stay home from work and care for children, partners, or parents. In light of the pandemic, there are two new acts put in place to help sick people, or those caring for sick family members.
The new acts and how they might help you take paid leave are outlined below.
Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA)
This act is an expansion to the FFCRA. It provides 12 weeks off for people caring for children whose school or daycare has closed due to COVID-19. Ten of the 12 weeks are paid. You would not get your full rate (typically, you would receive 2/3 pay), and the amount you can receive is capped by the law. But you would get much more relief than you usually would under the FMLA, which is unpaid.
This leave is not available to everyone. For example, if you have completely used up your FMLA this year, you will not be eligible for EFMLEA.
Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)
As of April 1, 2020, the "main" new act was put into action. This temporary act will expire on December 31, 2020, when laws will go back to basic FMLA rules.
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act provides benefits such as:
- Up to 80 hours of paid sick leave for government quarantine or self-quarantine (recommended by a health professional) under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (read more below)
- Up to 12 weeks of expanded family and medical leave, including 10 paid weeks, for COVID-19 under The Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (read more below)
- Reimbursement for companies with fewer than 500 workers for their employees' paid time off
- Tax credits for companies who let their employees take COVID-19-related sick leave
- Allows for up to ten weeks of partial pay to care for your kids. Some companies are also expanding their time off or required hours to make room for childcare.
Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA)
This act is a part of the FFCRA. It enables eligible employees to take up to two weeks of paid sick time. This does not replace your current sick time at your company, but is in addition to any time you already have.
You will receive full pay for this extra sick time. But, the amount you can be paid is capped. This extra time only applies to employees who:
- Cannot work due to quarantine or isolation orders
- Are self-quarantining
- Are showing symptoms
For example, this extra sick time would not apply if you suddenly got sick with influenza A or strep throat.
Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES)
This act clarifies the payment limits you can receive for COVID-19-related sick leave. It also gives longer family or medical leave to anyone:
- Laid off or fired after March 1, 2020
- Going to be re-hired by the same company before December 31, 2020
If you believe your rights may have been violated in regards to the Family and Medical Leave Act, Call BIG DAN immediately.