Congress has enacted the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) in its effort to ease the financial burden on employees during the COVID-19 pandemic. The law will go into effect on April 2, 2020.
The EPSLA is available to employees who work for:
- Private employers with 500 or fewer employees
- Public employers with 1 or more employee.
The EPSLA covers employees who:
- Self-isolate after being diagnosed with COVID-19
- Need time away from work to obtain a medical diagnosis
- Need time away from work to obtain care because they are experiencing the symptoms of COVID-19
- Must comply with an order from certain governmental officials not to be at work
- To care for a family member who has or is seeking a diagnosis/treatment for COVID-19
- 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
Full time employees are eligible for up to 80 hours of emergency paid sick leave, while part time employees are entitled to emergency paid sick leave equal to the average number of hours that employee works in a two week period. Companies who have paid sick leave time policies must first grant employees emergency sick leave before the employee must use accrued sick leave under the employer’s policy. Emergency sick leave does not roll over year to year.
When an employee is off work to care for a family member, that employee receives 2/3rds of the normal rate of pay, otherwise the employee receives the employee’s normal rate of pay. Employers may not discriminate or retaliate against employees who exercise their rights under the EPSLA, nor can employers change an existing sick leave policy to attempt to avoid the EPSLA.
If you have questions about whether your rights under the EPSLA have been honored, please contact the lawyers at Minnillo & Jenkins, Co., LPA by telephone (513-723-1600) for a free, confidential, no obligation telephone consultation.