Families first Coronavirus Law, Who Qualifies for Paid Leave

Brad Nakase, Attorney

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For the first time in history, the United States has mandated federal paid leave. The government passed a law on Wednesday that gives the majority of Americans paid leave if they have to take time off due to coronavirus.

Paid leave is ordinarily a state matter, but due to the measures being put in place to control the spread of coronavirus, the government has created a blanket paid leave law. People who aren’t usually provided for in paid leave are also included under this new law. Part-time and gig workers are eligible for paid leave under the new law. However, a lot of private-sector workers are excluded under this new measure.

How much paid leave am I entitled to under Families First Law?

Workers who qualify under this new law and are sick, quarantined, or getting preventative care or a diagnosis are entitled to two weeks paid sick leave. Parents who are caring for their children due to school closure are entitled to 12 weeks of paid leave.

Which workers qualify for paid leave under Families First Law?

Workers at non-profits or small or mid-size companies are entitled to paid leave. Government employees also qualify if they have been employed for at least 30 days.

Which workers are not entitled to paid leave under Families First Law?

Workers at companies who employ over 500 people are excluded from the paid leave law. If you work at a company with less than 50 employers you are included. However, the Labor Department can provide exemptions to small businesses if they would be put out of business by providing paid leave. Also, employees on the front line of the disease can be declined paid leave. Employees on the front lines include emergency responders and health care providers.

Are self-employed or part-time workers eligible for paid leave under Families First Law?

Yes, they are. Part-time workers are eligible to be paid what they would typically earn during a two week period. Self-employed workers include people who work in gig-economy such as Uber or Lyft drivers. Self-employed workers are entitled to paid leave and will receive their average daily income. They can take this amount as a tax credit.

How much will I be paid on paid-sick leave under Families First Law?

In the case where you are ill, you will be paid the full amount you would ordinarily be paid. This amount will be capped at $511 per day. In the case where you are caring for an ill family member, you will receive two-thirds of your standard pay. This amount is capped at $200 per day. Parents caring for children whose schools have closed will receive the same as those caring for ill family.

How do I take this paid sick for coronavirus?

The Labor Department will issue guidelines by the 2nd of April so employers can calculate their employees paid leave. After this date, you will notify your employer and take the paid leave. You will be paid for two weeks leave only.

How will employers and non-profits afford to pay this sick leave for coronavirus?

Employers will be reimbursed in the form of a payroll tax credit. This reimbursement will occur within three months. If employers can’t wait that long, the government has said they will advance the money. The government will also reimburse employers for their health insurance contributions during the leave. If the employer pays more in paid leave than the amount of their taxes, then the government will send a check for the remaining balance. The same applies for gig-economy and self-employed workers.

What are my coronavirus law rights if I work for a big company?

You are entitled to use the paid sick leave policy your company offers. However, most companies do not allow two weeks of paid sick leave; therefore, the remainder will be unpaid. A lot of the bigger companies such as Target and Walmart have amended paid sick leave plans for coronavirus. If you have worked for a company for longer than a year and your company has 50 employees or more, then you are entitled to 12 weeks unpaid medical and family leave.

Why are these big companies being excluded from Families First coronavirus law?

This was a requirement for passing the bill. The original bill included workers in big companies and entitled employees to 12 weeks of paid leave. However, in order to pass the bill, these points were negotiated.

Will this paid leave bill be in place permanently?

No, it is just in place for the duration of coronavirus. It will expire on the 31st of December, and current paid leave laws will be used.

Will the government give workers additional aid?

Yes. The government will give workers free coronavirus tests, food and medical aid, and unemployment benefits. The government asked Congress for USD1 trillion for payments to American businesses and taxpayers. Lawmakers are also in talks to offer additional paid leave. More information about how to collect aid is available at the New York Times personal finance hub.

If you require a San Diego employment lawyer, then call Brad Nakase at the Nakase Law Firm. Call today on  619-550-1321 to book a free consultation.

Related information: 

FEMA is not giving home loans for Covid-19.

California Law Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Trump Families First Coronavirus Aid Package

Who Qualifies for Paid Leave Coronavirus Under Federal Law

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