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Who Can Take Leave Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act?

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act allows employees to take unpaid leave. However, employees must be eligible to take this leave.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, federal legislators enacted the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The Act was an extension of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and allows certain employees to take leave necessary due to the coronavirus pandemic. Unlike FMLA, the FFCRA may expire on December 31, 2020. The FFCRA also provides sick leave with pay, unlike the unpaid leave provided by FMLA. The Act offers many protections for employees, but it is important to know whether you are eligible prior to taking the leave.

What Does the Act Provide?

Generally speaking, the FFCRA allows employees of covered employers with up to two weeks or 80 hours of sick leave with pay if an employee cannot work due to quarantine orders, or because they are showing symptoms of COVID-19 and are awaiting test results. The employer must provide the employee with the rate of pay they regularly receive.

If an employee cannot work because they must care for someone quarantining due to COVID-19, or to care for a child that cannot attend school or childcare, they may also take paid leave. In these instances, the employee can take two weeks of paid leave at two-thirds their regular rate of pay.

If an employee has worked for at least 30 days and they have to care for a child that cannot attend childcare or school, the employee may be eligible for an additional 10 weeks of paid leave. During the leave, the employee can receive two-thirds of their regular rate of pay.

What Employers are Covered Under the Act?

Unfortunately, not all employers are covered under the FFCRA. Due to the fact that the Act did not change Title II of the FMLA, most federal employees are not covered by the FFCRA. Federal employees that are eligible for leave under Title II of the FMLA may still take paid sick leave.

Other than federal employers, the FFCRA covers employers that have less than 500 employees. Small business owners with less than 50 employees may be eligible for an exemption regarding employees that cannot work due to a lack of childcare or schooling for their children. In these cases, if the employer feels as though providing the leave would jeopardize their business, they may not have to meet this requirement.

Eligible employees should provide their employer with notice of the leave as soon as possible. Once an employee has gone on leave, the employer may also require reasonable notice in the event that the worker wants to continue the paid sick leave.

Has Your Employer Denied Leave? Call Our Murrieta Employment Lawyers

If you have asked your employer for qualified leave and they have denied your request, contact our Murrieta employment lawyers today. At Gibbs & Fuerst, LLP, we understand the law and are dedicated to upholding the rights of employees. Call us at (951) 291-9814 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation and to learn more about how we can help.