SPAHRA

Stevens Point Human Resource Association

Time Off for Employees

7 Aug 2020 3:34 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Authored by Dean R. Dietrich

This blog is a follow up to our past blogs and discussions regarding the federal law that provides for paid sick leave benefits and extended family leave (with limited pay options) to employees under certain conditions. This paid sick leave benefit would be provided to an employee (both full-time and part-time) under limited circumstances. This benefit would be provided as a paid benefit and would not be based upon the availability of sick leave or paid time off benefits already earned/accrued by the employee. 

Generally speaking, there are two types of benefits. The first is 10 days of paid sick leave (at the employee’s regular rate) for limited purposes. There is only one opportunity to receive this paid sick leave benefit. We are not sure whether this benefit will be extended beyond December 31, 2020. The second benefit provides for up to 12 weeks of family leave (minus any family leave already taken) with limited payment of wages depending upon the reason for taking the family leave time off. 

With regard to the 80 hours of paid leave under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act, an employee is eligible to receive this paid benefit if:

  • The employee is subject to a quarantine or isolation order related to the Coronavirus;
  • The employee has been advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to the Coronavirus;
  • The employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis.

The payment under any of these scenarios is based on the employee’s full pay rate up to a maximum of $511 per day and $5,110 total payment. 

 

There is another payment option that applies under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act.  An employee can receive two-thirds (2/3rds) of regular pay for up to 80 hours ($200 per day and $2,000 total) for the following reasons:

  • The employee is caring for an individual who is subject to a quarantine/isolation order or has been advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19;
  • The employee is experiencing any other substantially-similar condition specified by the Secretary Health and Human Services (none have been specified to date).

This paid sick leave benefit must be taken in full-day increments (prorated for part-time employees) and cannot be taken as intermittent time off unless the Company agrees to allow such intermittent leave. This 10 days/80 hours of paid sick leave will also count toward the total of 12 weeks of FMLA leave that an employee may receive and would also count in conjunction with an employee who is seeking expanded family and medical leave. 

Expanded Family and Medical Leave under the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act applies in the following situation:

  • The employee is taking time off to care for the employee’s child whose school or place of care is closed or the childcare provider is unavailable due to COVID-19 related reasons.

The pay under this leave is limited to two-thirds of the base daily pay received by the employee up to a maximum of $200 per day and $12,000 in total. This would not include the pay that an employee may qualify for under the paid sick leave benefit described above. If the employee takes the 80 hours of paid sick leave, the employee will only be eligible for 10 weeks of expanded family leave.

There are several situations we can anticipate where employees will be requesting time off and seeking benefits under either the Paid Sick Leave Act or the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Act. The likely scenarios are the following:

  • The employee does not wish to return to work because the employee is afraid of being infected by the virus but is not experiencing any symptoms and is not being specifically directed by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine because of being exposed or potentially exposed to the virus. In this case, the employee would not qualify for the paid sick leave benefit unless the employee produces a doctor’s letter indicating that the employee has a medical condition and should not return to work because of potential exposure to the Coronavirus. In the instance of a doctor’s letter, the employee would likely qualify for the paid sick leave benefit of up to 80 hours of pay that is not deducted from any paid time off benefit. The Company must review the doctor’s note to see if the employee qualifies due to a medical condition. 
  • The employee is fearful of sending children to school and therefore wishes to stay home and care for the children instead of exposing the children to a potential infection in the school setting. This employee would not qualify for the paid sick leave benefit or the emergency family and medical leave benefit (both at two-thirds of the base daily rate of pay) because the employee is not caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed but rather is simply fearful of having the child attend school because of the potential for infection by the virus. This analysis may be different if the child suffers from a medical condition that creates a risk of serious illness if the child is infected.

Recent clarification from the Department of Labor indicates that the emergency family leave benefit (10 – 12 weeks at 2/3rds pay) would apply if a school is open to some students but not for the employee’s child due to scheduling decisions.

Attached below are updated posters from the Department of Labor which summarizes this benefit. We are likely to continue to see clarification of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act as things unfold.

Please do not hesitate to contact Dietrich VanderWaal if we can be of assistance in navigating your Coronavirus-related employment matters.

 Quick Tip Poster FFCRA.pdf

FFCRA Poster Non-Federal.pdf

Dean R. Dietrich, Esq.
Dietrich VanderWaal, S.C.
530 Jackson Street
Wausau, WI  54403
(715) 845-9401
dietrich@dvlawgroup.com
https://www.dietrichvanderwaal.com/


Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software