Emergency Coronavirus Bill Expands FMLA and Grants Workers Paid Leave

Recently, an emergency coronavirus bill was signed into legislation by President Donald J. Trump to mitigate the financial effects of the Coronavirus on workers. Essentially, the bill expands family and medical leave for workers who are either employed by private entities or for individuals who employ less than 500 employees. This allows them to take up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave if they cannot come to work or work remotely because they have to take care of a child under the age of 18 whose school or place of care has closed or because his/her child care provider cannot assist as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

As a result, thousands of employers that were previously exempt from FMLA will now be required to provide this job-protected leave to employees, as long as they can provide a coronavirus-related reason. Unfortunately, the fear is that since more than half of all employees in the United States are employed by employers with more than 500 employees, this law will cause smaller businesses to take a hit. There are various reasons employees may take paid sick leave under the new Act, including the following:

  • If they are now caring for someone subject to a federal, state or local quarantine due to COVID-19
  • If they are now caring for an employee’s child if that child’s school or place of care has closed due to COVID-19
  • If a health care provider has advised them self-quarantine because of COVID-19
  • If they are currently experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and require medical diagnosis
  • If they have been subjected to a federal, state or local quarantine because of COVID-19
  • If they are currently undergoing any other significantly similar scenario as specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Labor

The bill is set to go into effect on April 2, 2020, and it will continue until December 1, 2020. If you have any additional questions about the bill and how it may affect you, do not hesitate to reach out to our experienced Jacksonville business law attorneys today.

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