What Employees Need to Know About Emergency Paid Sick Leave During COVID-19

POSTED 04-20-20

With the global pandemic officially known as COVID-19 causing lockdowns, shutdowns, and restrictions, it can become confusing who is eligible for what. This article will clear up the confusion so that employees can take the necessary steps to qualify for Emergency Paid Sick Leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).

To be eligible for up to 80 hours of Emergency Paid Sick Leave, employees have to make sure they take the following steps:

  1. Seek out medical advice from a medical professional.
  2. Submit a written request to their employer for Emergency Paid Sick Leave.

According to the Center for Disease Control, people should be prepared for possibly having COVID-19 if they have a fever or cough. While most employees will be able to recover at home, it doesn’t mean they don’t have to contact their healthcare provider. This is especially true if they are unable to come into work because they have COVID-19 symptoms.

If employees want to ensure they receive Emergency Paid Sick Leave, they must speak with their healthcare provider.  The Department of Labor has reiterated this requirement. Employees can receive Emergency Paid Sick Leave if they either seek out a medical diagnosis or if a healthcare provider advised them to self-quarantine. When employees self-quarantine by choice without speaking to a medical professional first, they will be ineligible for this paid sick leave. In fact, even if they have COVID-19 symptoms, they will be unable to qualify.

The IRS has come out with its guidelines as well. It has stated that employees need to provide the following in order for their employer to receive the respective tax credits:

Making sure employees know the steps they need to take to receive this form of paid time off is necessary to avoid potential confusion and distress. Instead of asking them to write a letter specifying everything that is required, you can create a form for them to complete. If you would like to obtain a sample copy of a form to provide them, contact Crystal at South Creek HR.