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a mom taking care of her sick daughter

Medical Leave Rights During the COVID-19 Outbreak

As the spread of COVID-19 continues, thousands of employees continue to be affected one way or another. One of the many concerns that workers have is what will happen to their jobs if they need to take a leave of absence. Whether you’ve been sick or a loved one has contracted COVID-19, you should be aware of your medical leave rights during the Coronavirus pandemic. Our Los Angeles employment law attorneys explain the medical leave rights for workers.

Who Is Eligible to Take a Medical Leave?

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) ensures that employers provide workers with job-protected unpaid leave for medical and family reasons. The FMLA also gives employees access to employer-provided health insurance. Since FMLA regulations haven’t changed, workers can take medical leave if they become sick or their loved one becomes ill due to COVID-19.

According to the Department of Labor, the FMLA covers all employees who have:

  • Worked for their employer within the last 12 months
  • Clocked in at least 1,250 hours of service over the last 12 months
  • Works in a company that has at least 50 employees within a 75-mile radius

Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) requires certain employers to provide their employees with paid sick leave or expanded FMLA for reasons related to COVID-19. These provisions are effective until December 31, 2020.

Covered employers must provide all workers with the following under FFCRA:

  • Two Weeks of Paid Sick Leave: Employers are required to provide workers with up to 80 hours of paid sick leave at the employee’s regular rate of pay where the employee is unable to work because the employee is quarantined. These two weeks may also be granted if the employee is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Two Weeks of Paid Sick Leave for Loved One: Employers are also required to provide up to 80 hours of paid sick leave if a worker needs to care for a family member who has COVID-19 or if their minor child needs care because of school closures.
  • Paid Expanded Family & Medical Leave: Employers should also provide an additional ten weeks of paid expended medical leave if an employee is unable to work to care for a child or other reasons related to COVID-19.

How Do I Know If I’m Covered By FFCRA?

The FFCRA applies to certain public and private employers with less than 500 employees. Most federal government workers aren’t covered by FFCRA but are covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act. You should check with your HR department to determine if FFCRA covers your work. Small businesses with fewer than 50 employees may qualify for exemption if the leave requirements would jeopardize the viability of the business.

What Isn’t Protected Under the Family and Medical Leave Act?

The FMLA doesn’t cover workers who want to take a leave of absence out of an abundance of caution to avoid exposure to COVID-19. However, it is recommended for people how have come in contact with COVID-19 to stay home to flatten the curve. You should speak to your employer if you’re currently in that situation. Additionally, the FMLA doesn’t protect workers who are home to care for healthy children.

If your employer is violating your medical leave act, get in touch with our Los Angeles employment law attorneys today at (213) 292-5444!

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