Paid Leave Under the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act

Contents

  1. Can I get paid sick leave if I take time off work for reasons related to coronavirus?
  2. Do all employers have to provide paid sick leave under FFCRA?  
  3. Can I get paid sick leave if I can’t work because I have COVID-19?
  4. Can I get paid sick leave if I don’t have COVID-19, but this public health emergency has made it impossible for me to work?
  5. I only work part-time. Am I entitled to paid sick leave?
  6. Who pays for the FFCRA sick leave?
  7. Do I have to use my vacation days or other paid leave before I can use the two weeks of paid leave?
  8. Can my employer give my job to someone else while I am on leave?
  9. Can my employer discipline me, refuse to promote me, or fire me for using paid sick leave?
  10. I can’t return to my job because I no longer have child care due to school closures/day care closures. Can I get more than two weeks of leave?
  11. Do all employers have to offer their employees 12 weeks of extended family and medical leave to care for children whose school was closed?
  12. Will I get paid while I take the 12 weeks of leave to care for my children?
  13. I’m new at my job. Can I get paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave?
  14. I took FMLA leave earlier this year due to some medical issues. Can I still get the entire 12 weeks of expanded family and medical leave?
  15. I work for a small business with only a few employees. Is my employer required to provide paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave?

Can I get paid sick leave if I take time off work for reasons related to coronavirus? Back to Top

Maybe. On March 18, 2020, Congress passed the “Families First Coronavirus Relief Act” (FFCRA). This bill requires employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide paid sick leave to employees who cannot work for certain reasons related to coronavirus.

Do all employers have to provide paid sick leave under FFCRA?Back to Top

No. Only employers that have fewer than 500 employees have to provide paid sick leave under FFCRA. Employers that have more than 500 employees are not required to provide paid sick leave under FFCRA. Employers with under 50 employees may not have to provide paid leave under FFCRA.

Some health care workers and emergency responders are not entitled to paid sick leave under the new law.

Under Michigan law, most employers must provide one hour of paid sick leave for every 35 hours worked.

Can I get paid sick leave if I can’t work because I have COVID-19?Back to Top

You can get paid sick leave if you work for an employer that has fewer than 500 employees if any of these apply to you:

  • You must self-quarantine or self-isolate because of a coronavirus government order
  • A health care provider has told you to self-quarantine due to concerns related to the coronavirus
  • You have symptoms of coronavirus and are trying to get a medical diagnosis

If you fall into one of these three categories and work for an employer with fewer than 500 employees, you can get two weeks (up to 80 hours) of sick leave at full pay, up to a maximum of $511 per day. If you work part-time, you can get paid for the average number of hours you work in a two-week period.

Can I get paid sick leave if I don’t have COVID-19, but this public health emergency has made it impossible for me to work?Back to Top

Maybe. You can get two weeks of partially paid sick leave if:

  1. Your employer has less than 500 employees
  2. AND you are unable to work (or unable to telework from home)
  3. AND if one of the following applies to you:
    • You are caring for someone who must self-quarantine or self-isolate because of a government order related to the coronavirusa. OR you are caring for someone who was told to self-quarantine by a health care provider
    • OR you are caring for a child whose school or care provider is closed or unavailable due to coronavirus
    • OR you have symptoms “substantially similar” to coronavirus, as defined by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

If you meet these requirements, you can get two weeks of sick leave at two-thirds your normal pay, up to a maximum of $200 per day. If you are home caring for a child whose school or care provider has closed due to the COVID-19, you may also qualify for extended family leave – see the section below: “I can’t return to my job because I no longer have child care due to school closures/daycare closures. Can I get more than two weeks of leave?” Jason, please link to that question.

I only work part-time. Can I get paid sick leave?Back to Top

Yes. Part-time employees can get paid sick leave for the average number of hours that they typically work in a two-week period.

Who pays for the FFCRA sick leave?Back to Top

Your employer will pay you up front, but they will get the money back from the federal government.

Do I have to use my vacation days or other paid leave before I can use the two weeks of paid leave?Back to Top

No. Your employer cannot make you use other paid leave before you can get FFCRA paid leave.

Can my employer give my job to someone else while I am on leave?Back to Top

No. Your employer must hold your job for you while you take your two weeks of paid sick leave.

Can my employer discipline me, refuse to promote me, or fire me for using paid sick leave?Back to Top

No. Your employer cannot retaliate against you for using paid sick leave. Your employer cannot fire you, discipline you, refuse to promote you, or punish you in other ways because you took paid sick leave.

I can’t return to my job because I no longer have child care due to school closures/daycare closures. Can I get more than two weeks of leave?Back to Top

Maybe. FFCRA also allows extended family and medical leave in some circumstances. You can take an additional 12 weeks of Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave, if:  

  • Your employer has less than 500 employees
  • AND you have to care for a child whose school or daycare has closed due to the COVID-19 public health emergency

The 12 weeks of extended family and medical leave does not apply to certain health care workers or emergency responders.

Do all employers have to offer their employees 12 weeks of extended family and medical leave to care for children whose school was closed?Back to Top

No. Like the two weeks of sick leave, the extended family and medical leave does not apply to employers with more than 500 employees. These large employers may have their own leave policies. Small businesses with less than 50 employees do not have to provide paid leave if they can meet certain criteria.

Will I get paid while I take the 12 weeks of leave to care for my children?Back to Top

Partially. The first two weeks of leave are not paid. If you have other paid leave you could use it to bridge this gap. After the first two weeks you will get paid two-thirds of your regular rate, up to a maximum of $200 per day.

I’m new at my job. Can I get paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave?Back to Top

Maybe. All employees who work for an employer subject to FFCRA are entitled to two weeks of paid sick leave, no matter how long they have worked for their employer. To be eligible for expanded family and medical leave, however, you must have worked for your employer for at least 30 days.

I took FMLA leave earlier this year due to some medical issues. Can I still get 12 weeks of expanded family and medical leave?Back to Top

No. The expanded family and medical leave is an expansion of the FMLA program. FMLA leave is generally limited to 12 weeks of leave in a benefit year, as defined by your employer. If you already took FMLA leave during the benefit year, the amount of leave you took will be subtracted from the 12 weeks of expanded family and medical leave. For example, if you took two weeks of FMLA leave to recover from a surgery in January, you are only entitled to take 10 weeks of expanded family and medical leave.

I work for a small business with only a few employees. Is my employer required to provide paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave?Back to Top

Maybe. Small businesses are generally required to provide paid sick leave. However, there are some exemptions for businesses with fewer than 50 employees. These businesses may not have to provide paid sick leave for employees to care for a child whose school or daycare has closed or provide expanded family and medical leave to care for children. These businesses still have to provide paid sick leave taken for the other qualifying reasons, however, such as a diagnosis of COVID-19 or when an employee has to care for someone with COVID-19.