Protecting Your Income During COVID-19

Much of the country is reopening after months of stay at home orders and closures of nonessential businesses. Many federal programs are available for the slew of unique circumstances that continue to affect businesses due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act, short- and long-term disability, workers compensation, and the Family Medical Leave Expansion Act are all examples of options you may need to consider if the coronavirus reaches your door.

If you qualify, the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and the Family Medical Leave Expansion Act may help you retain your income or at least your position if you or a family member contracts coronavirus. Now is the time to seek employment counseling to learn the ins and outs of these programs before you need them.

Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act

With this act, the amount of aid that you receive will depend on who is sick. If the employee is sick, the employer is expected to provide full sick leave pay up to $551/day or a total of $5,510 if:

  • State, federal, and/or local quarantine orders have been put in place that the employee must adhere to;
  • A healthcare specialist has advised the employee to self-quarantine; or
  • The employee is presenting with symptoms of COVID-19 and awaiting diagnosis.

If the employee is requesting paid sick leave to care for someone else, the numbers begin to change. For employees missing work to care for someone else, they will receive two-thirds of their normal pay for up to two weeks up to $200/day and a total of $2,000 if:

  • State, federal, and/or local quarantine orders have been put in place that must be adhered to;
  • A healthcare specialist has advised the person to self-quarantine; or
  • The school or daycare of an employee’s child is closed due to COVID-19.

To use Emergency Paid Sick Leave, an employee does not have to be employed for a minimum amount of time. The employee does however have to prove that they are eligible to use the sick leave.

Coverage is not provided by the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Law if you fear that you have been exposed to the coronavirus on the job. This is where workers compensation may come in handy. Seek advice from a trusted employment attorney to navigate workers compensation claims related to COVID-19. MARC has extensive experience in the workers compensation area and is prepared to help you.

Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

This act may be beneficial if you or someone you live with is considered high risk if coronavirus is contracted. Under this act you are entitled to up to 12 weeks of job secured leave within a year if you have been employed at the company for 1 year and have worked 1,250 hours within that year. However, FMLA does not require an employer to pay you for this leave. If this leave negatively impacts your job upon your return, this employer behavior is illegal and your employer can be penalized. Employers may wish to seek employment litigation services to ensure they are operating in accordance with this act.

Short- and Long-Term Disability

Although disability may not be the first thought that enters your mind when you think of COVID-19, the severity of this virus acts as a disability and you may be entitled to short- and long-term disability coverage. Any employer that discriminates against an employee for contracting the virus may be liable under disability laws.

Consult an Employment Attorney

With many avenues for you to take to ensure job and income security throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, it is certain you will find a program that is right for you. Throughout this daunting process, contact any of our employment counseling attorneys. We are prepared to advise you in all of your employment law needs.

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