The Family Medical Leave Act Amendments
To be eligible, you must be employed for at least 30 calendar days by the employer from which you are seeking Emergency Paid Leave.
Your employer must employ fewer than 500 employees for each working day during each of the 20 or more calendar workweeks in the current or preceding calendar year.
You qualify for Public Health Emergency Leave if you are unable to work (or telework) due to a need for leave to care for the son or daughter under 18 years of age of such employee if the school or place of care has been closed, or the child care provider of such son or daughter is unavailable, due to a public health emergency. Therefore, if your city, state or county has declared a public health emergency and your schools and/or day care facilities are closed, you meet this qualification.
Paid Leave Under the Amended FMLA
The first ten (10) days of Public Health Emergency Leave under the Amended FMLA can be unpaid leave and the employee may elect to use any accrued paid leave (vacation, paid time off, sick leave) in order to be paid for those first ten (10) days off. However, after the initial ten (10) days of leave, the employer must provide paid leave for each day of Public Health Emergency Leave at the rate of an amount that is not less than two-thirds of an employee’s regular rate of pay (as determined under section 7(e) of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (29 U.S.C. 207(e)); and (II) the number of hours the employee would otherwise be normally scheduled to work. If you work a varied schedule, the employer is directed to the average number of hours that the employee was scheduled per day over the 6-month period ending on the date on which the employee takes such leave.In no event shall such paid leave exceed $200 per day and $10,000 in the aggregate.
Restoration to your job is not mandatory for employers who employs fewer that 25 employees IF: (1) the position no longer exists due to economic conditions or other changes in operating conditions of the employer— (i) that affect employment; and (ii) are caused by a public health emergency during the period of leave. However, an employer must make reasonable efforts to restore you to a position equivalent to your position when you took Public Health Emergency Leave and must make reasonable efforts to contact you if an equivalent position becomes available within a year of your taking leave.
Be aware that the Department of Labor will have the authority to issue regulations for good cause to exclude certain healthcare providers and to exempt small businesses with fewer than 50 employees where the imposition of the requirements under the Emergency Amendments to the FMLA would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern. However, employers are presumptively covered by the Emergency Amendments unless they can establish good cause not to comply with the new requirements.
The second provision pertaining to paid time off because of COVID-19 is a completely new law.
Emergency Paid Sick Leave
Congress also enacted a separate paid sick leave law for the period of time that you are unable to work (or telework) because:
(1) You are subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID–19.
(2) You have been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID–19.
(3) You are experiencing symptoms of COVID–19 and are seeking a medical diagnosis.
(4) You are caring for an individual who is subject to an order as described in paragraph (1) or has been advised as described in paragraph (2).
(5) You are caring for a son or daughter of such employee if the school or place of care of the son or daughter has been closed, or the child care provider of such son or daughter is unavailable, due to COVID–19 precautions. (this provision overlaps with the FMLA amendments)
(6) You are 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.
If you are an employee of an employer who is a health care provider or an emergency responder, it may elect to exclude you from the application of this subsection.
The paid sick time benefit is as follows:
(A) For full-time employees, 80 hours.
(B) For part-time employees, a number of hours equal to the number of hours that such employee works, on average, over a 2-week period.
An employer may not require, as a condition of providing paid sick time under this Act, that the employee involved search for or find a replacement employee to cover the hours during which the employee is using paid sick time.
The paid sick time under subsection (a) shall be available for immediate use by the employee for the purposes described in such subsection, regardless of how long the employee has been employed by an employer.
An employee may first use the paid sick time under subsection (a) for the purposes described in such subsection. An employer may not require an employee to use other paid leave provided by the employer to the employee before the employee uses the paid sick time under subsection (a).
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