The Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) was recently passed to protect employees during a public health emergency, like the current COVID-19 pandemic. The EPSLA expands Paid Sick Leave to include qualifying leave for employees who are subject to quarantine or isolation orders related to COVID-19, advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine because of COVID-19 and are either personally experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, caring for an individual subject to quarantine or isolation or caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed due to COVID-19.
EPSLA provides paid leave and benefit amounts depend on several factors, including the employee’s full-time or part-time status and the employee’s basis for the leave. Full-time employees who take leave because of quarantine orders or COVID-19 related symptoms receive 80 hours of pay at their full wage. Full-time employees who take leave to care for a family member or child only receive two-thirds their regular wage. A part-time employee will receive pay based on an average number of hours worked over a two-week period. The law caps benefits at $511 per day if leave is taken to because of quarantine order or COVID-19 related symptom and $200 per day when leave is taken to care for a family member or child.
The EPSLA applies to employers with fewer than 500 employees, public agencies, private entities who perform an essential function and anyone acting directly or indirectly in the interests of the employer. Employees who qualify are immediately eligible for this type of leave and an employer cannot require an employee use accrued vacation time before receiving EPSLA benefits.
If your employer doesn’t allow you to access paid sick leave, then your employer may be subject to liability. The EPSLA provides anti-retaliation protection and for penalties for failure to pay wages. To discuss your options contact the attorneys at Cooney Law Offices. We can help!