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Employer Ordered to Pay Employee’s Covid-19 Paid Sick and Family Leave

Employer’s take note.  The U.S. Department of Labor (the “DOL”) Wage and Hour Division recently commenced an action against healthcare service provider, Consumer Medical, for its failure to pay wages under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (the “EPSLA”) and the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (the “EFMLEA”). Both EPSLA and EFMLEA are laws created under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (the “FFCRA”), which went into effect on April 1, 2020.  As a result of the DOL’s action, Consumer Medical has agreed to pay its employee back wages in the amount of $3,076.  What is important for employers to note is not the amount of the back wages, but rather the action itself.  The DOL’s willingness to enforce these two new acts is a wakeup call to all employers.

The DOL’s action stemmed from Consumer Medical’s denial of emergency paid sick leave for an employee’s COVID-19 like illness in violation of EPSLA.  Additionally, Consumer Medical denied the same employee leave to care for her child during the child’s school’s COVID-19 closure in violation of EFMLEA.  As we have previously written about here (click here to read related article), the FFCRA requires certain employers to allow employees to take paid sick leave and family and medical leave for a variety of COVID-19 related reasons.

We believe this case is the tip of the iceberg.   The federal DOL, and private attorneys are gearing up for such litigation.  It is critical for employers to take all necessary measures to ensure compliance with the FFCRA.   This includes your employees’ right to take paid sick time to care to for family members and themselves.  If you need assistance in determining whether your company falls under the requirements of the FFCRA or if your employees are eligible for its benefits, Brody and Associates is here to help. 

We have attached a link to the DOL’s FFCRA poster for our clients to reference (click here).  It is both a good summary of the law, and all employers’ obligation to post. 

The subject matter discussed in this post can be very technical.  It is an evolving area of law and very fact specific.  Our goal here is to simply alert you to some of the key issues involved.  We urge you to seek competent legal counsel before applying these ideas to your specific situation.  Brody and Associates stands ready to discuss your particular needs.