Another legal issue that arises for employers is when the employee actually tests positive for COVID-19. Of importance to this issue is the Family First Corona Response Act (FFCRA) that went into effect on April 1, 2020. Under the FFCRA, the employer could be eligible to use paid sick leave under certain circumstances when the employee is unable to work remotely: (1) He or she is subject to a local, state or federal quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19; (2) He or she has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine because of COVID-19; (3) He or she is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and is seeking a medical diagnosis; (4) He or she is caring for an individual subject to or advised to quarantine or self-isolate; (5) He or she is caring for a child whose school or place of child care is closed, or whose child care provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19; or (6) is experiencing substantially similar conditions as specified by the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the U.S. Secretaries of Labor and the Treasury. For companies with fewer than 500 employees, the FFCRA expanded the EFMLA to provide for up to 12 weeks of job-protected EFMLA leave if the employee has been employed for 30 calendar days and, generally, is caring for a child, due to COVID-19. The first two weeks of EFMLA leave would be unpaid, and the remaining 10 weeks would be paid at 2/3 of an employee’s regular rate for the number of hours the employee would have otherwise worked, up to a cap of $200 per day and up to an aggregate of $10,000.
If the FFCRA does not apply, then the employer still may have to accommodate the employee’s leave pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Requests for leave under the ADA are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Should you have any questions, call me at (423) 424-6208 or contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.