Employment Law

Is an Employee Requesting Paid Leave for COVID-19 Related Reasons? Here’s What Contractors Should Know featured image

Is an Employee Requesting Paid Leave for COVID-19 Related Reasons? Here’s What Contractors Should Know

A Florida construction company was recently required to pay an employee $4,352 in emergency sick leave. The construction company initially denied the request, and it wasn’t until the U.S. Department of Labor stepped in that the worker received paid sick leave. The worker in question had requested sick leave to care for a child after the COVID-19 pandemic forced the child’s school to close. Remember, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) does allow paid sick leave for this exact scenario. 

Below, we describe several scenarios that would entitle an employee to paid sick leave. This article is for educational purposes only. For any questions regarding employment law, consult a Miami construction lawyer with Cotney Attorneys & Consultants. 

Scenarios that Entitle an Employee to Paid Sick Leave 

All employees of covered employers are eligible for paid sick leave for reasons related to COVID-19. Although there are exceptions, it’s best to use caution and consult a Miami construction attorney when workers request paid sick leave and begin testing positive for COVID-19.

Related: Do Contractors Have to Record Cases of COVID-19?

1. Quarantined or Exhibiting Signs of COVID-19

We’ll begin with the most straightforward scenario. If an employee is quarantined following the advice of a medical professional or exhibiting signs of COVID-19 and seeking a diagnosis, they are entitled to two weeks paid sick leave at their regular rate of pay. Given how easily COVID-19 has been shown to spread, it’s imperative that you encourage your workers to stay home from work if they start showing signs of illness. 

Related: Are You Maintaining COVID-19 Related Documentation?

2. Caring for a Loved One 

Regardless of how irreplaceable a worker is, caring for a loved one is a legitimate reason for requesting sick leave. The FFCRA allows for up to two weeks of paid sick leave at two-thirds of an employee’s regular rate of pay if they have to:

  • Care for a quarantined individual
  • Care for a child whose school or child care provider is closed for COVID-19-related reasons 

Although Florida schools are still on track to reopen in August, school districts around the state are delaying reopening, and it remains unclear how the coming school year will be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Don’t be surprised in the coming months when workers come forward requesting sick leave to care for children because schools were forced to close once again. 

3. Caring for a Child Whose School Is Closed 

The above scenario entitles employees to 80 hours of paid sick leave at two-thirds of their regular rate of pay to care for a child whose school is closed for COVID-19-related reasons. However, they are also entitled to an additional 10 weeks of paid expanded family and medical leave at two-thirds of their regular rate of pay for the exact same reason, meaning that an employee (who has been with your company for at least 30 days) could be out for a total of 12 weeks to care for a child. 

If you would like to speak with a Miami construction lawyer, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.