FAQs

Frequently asked questions related to all COVID-19 legistlations

Frequently asked questions

My child’s school or place of care has moved to online instruction or to another model in which children are expected or required to complete assignments at home. Is it “closed”?


Yes. If the physical location where your child received instruction or care is now closed, the school or place of care is “closed” for purposes of paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave. This is true even if some or all instruction is being provided online or whether, through another format such as “distance learning,” your child is still expected or required to complete assignments.




What documents do I need to give my employer to get paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave?


When requesting paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave, you must provide your employer either orally or in writing the following information:

    • Your name;
    • The date(s) for which you request leave;
    • The reason for leave; and
    • A statement that you are unable to work because of the above reason.

If you request leave because you are subject to a quarantine or isolation order or to care for an individual subject to such an order, you should additionally provide the name of the government entity that issued the order. If you request leave to self-quarantine based on the advice of a health care provider or to care for an individual who is self-quarantining based on such advice, you should additionally provide the name of the health care provider who gave advice.

If you request leave to care for your child whose school or place of care is closed, or child care provider is unavailable, you must also provide:

    • The name of your child;
    • The name of the school, place of care, or child care provider that has closed or become unavailable; and
    • A statement that no other suitable person is available to care for your child.

In addition to the above information, you must also provide to your employer written documentation in support of your paid sick leave as specified in applicable IRS forms, instructions, and information.

Please also note that all existing certification requirements under the FMLA remain in effect if you are taking leave for one of the existing qualifying reasons under the FMLA. For example, if you are taking leave beyond the two weeks of emergency paid sick leave because your medical condition for COVID-19-related reasons rises to the level of a serious health condition, you must continue to provide medical certifications under the FMLA if required by your employer.




When am I able to telework under the FFCRA?


You may telework when your employer permits or allows you to perform work while you are at home or at a location other than your normal workplace. Telework is work for which normal wages must be paid and is not compensated under the paid leave provisions of the FFCRA.




If my employer reduces my scheduled work hours, can I use paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for the hours that I am no longer scheduled to work?


No. If your employer reduces your work hours because it does not have work for you to perform, you may not use paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for the hours that you are no longer scheduled to work. This is because you are not prevented from working those hours due to a COVID-19 qualifying reason, even if your reduction in hours was somehow related to COVID-19.

You may, however, take paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave if a COVID-19 qualifying reason prevents you from working your full schedule. If you do, the amount of leave to which you are entitled is computed based on your work schedule before it was reduced.




May I collect unemployment insurance benefits for time in which I receive pay for paid sick leave and/or expanded family and medical leave?


No. If your employer provides you paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave, you are not eligible for unemployment insurance. However, each State has its own unique set of rules; and DOL recently clarified additional flexibility to the States (UIPL 20-10) to extend partial unemployment benefits to workers whose hours or pay have been reduced. Therefore, individuals should contact their State workforce agency or State unemployment insurance office for specific questions about eligibility. For additional information, please refer to https://www.careeronestop.org/LocalHelp/service-locator.aspx.




If I am an employer, may I use the paid sick leave mandated under the EPSLA to satisfy paid leave entitlements that an employee may have under my paid leave policy?


No, unless your employee agrees. Paid sick leave under the EPSLA is in addition to your employee’s (including Federal Employees’) other leave entitlements. You may not require your employee to use provided or accrued paid vacation, personal, medical, or sick leave before the paid sick leave. You also may not require your employee to use such existing leave concurrently with the paid sick leave under the EPSLA. But if you and your employee agree, your employee may use preexisting leave entitlements to supplement the amount he or she receives from paid sick leave, up to the employee’s normal earnings. Note, however, that you are not entitled to a tax credit for any paid sick leave that is not required to be paid or exceeds the limits set forth under the EPSLA. You are free to amend your own policies to the extent consistent with applicable law.




If I am an employer, may I require my employee to take paid leave he or she may have under my existing paid leave policy concurrently with expanded family and medical leave under the EFMLEA?


Yes. After the first two workweeks (usually 10 workdays) of expanded family and medical leave under the EFMLEA, you may require that your employee take concurrently for the same hours expanded family and medical leave and existing leave that, under your policies, would be available to the employee in that circumstance. This would likely include personal leave or paid time off, but not medical or sick leave if your employee (or a covered family member) is not ill.

If you do so, you must pay your employee the full amount to which he or she is entitled under your existing paid leave policy for the period of leave taken. You must pay your employee at least 2/3 of his or her pay for subsequent periods of expanded family and medical leave taken, up to $200 per workday and $10,000 in the aggregate, for expanded family and medical leave. If your employee exhausts all preexisting paid vacation, personal, medical, or sick leave, you would need to pay your employee at least 2/3 of his or her pay for subsequent periods of expanded family and medical leave taken, up to $200 per day and $10,000 in the aggregate. You are free to amend your own policies to the extent consistent with applicable law.




If I want to pay my employees more than they are entitled to receive for paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave, can I do so and claim a tax credit for the entire amount paid to them?


You may pay your employees in excess of FFCRA requirements. But you cannot claim, and will not receive tax credit for, those amounts in excess of the FFCRA’s statutory limits.




If I take paid sick leave under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act, does that count against other types of paid sick leave to which I am entitled under State or local law, or my employer’s policy?


No. Paid sick leave under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act is in addition to other leave provided under Federal, State, or local law; an applicable collective bargaining agreement; or your employer’s existing company policy.




Who is a “health care provider” for purposes of determining individuals whose advice to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19 can be relied on as a qualifying reason for paid sick leave?


The term “health care provider,” as used to determine individuals whose advice to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19 can be relied on as a qualifying reason for paid sick leave, means a licensed doctor of medicine, nurse practitioner, or other health care provider permitted to issue a certification for purposes of the FMLA.




When does the small business exemption apply to exclude a small business from the provisions of the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act?


An employer, including a religious or nonprofit organization, with fewer than 50 employees (small business) is exempt from providing (a) paid sick leave due to school or place of care closures or child care provider unavailability for COVID-19 related reasons and (b) expanded family and medical leave due to school or place of care closures or child care provider unavailability for COVID-19 related reasons when doing so would jeopardize the viability of the small business as a going concern. A small business may claim this exemption if an authorized officer of the business has determined that:

    1. The provision of paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave would result in the small business’s expenses and financial obligations exceeding available business revenues and cause the small business to cease operating at a minimal capacity;
    2. The absence of the employee or employees requesting paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave would entail a substantial risk to the financial health or operational capabilities of the small business because of their specialized skills, knowledge of the business, or responsibilities; or
    3. There are not sufficient workers who are able, willing, and qualified, and who will be available at the time and place needed, to perform the labor or services provided by the employee or employees requesting paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave, and these labor or services are needed for the small business to operate at a minimal capacity.




How do I know if I can receive paid sick leave for a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19?


For purposes of the FFCRA, a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order includes quarantine or isolation orders, as well as shelter-in-place or stay-at-home orders, issued by any Federal, State, or local government authority that cause you to be unable to work (or to telework) even though your employer has work that you could perform but for the order. You may not take paid sick leave for this qualifying reason if your employer does not have work for you as a result of a shelter-in-place or a stay-at-home order. In the instance where your employer does not have work for you as a result of a shelter-in-place or a stay-at-home order, please see Questions 23-27.




When am I eligible for paid sick leave to self-quarantine?


You are eligible for paid sick leave if a health care provider directs or advises you to stay home or otherwise quarantine yourself because the health care provider believes that you may have COVID-19 or are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19, and quarantining yourself based upon that advice prevents you from working (or teleworking).




I am an employee. I become ill with COVID-19 symptoms, decide to quarantine myself for two weeks, and then return to work. I do not seek a medical diagnosis or the advice of a health care provider. Can I get paid for those two weeks under the FFCRA?


Generally no. If you become ill with COVID-19 symptoms, you may take paid sick leave under the FFCRA only to seek a medical diagnosis or if a health care provider otherwise advises you to self-quarantine. If you test positive for the virus associated with COVID-19 or are advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine, you may continue to take paid sick leave. You may not take paid sick leave under the FFCRA if you unilaterally decide to self-quarantine for an illness without medical advice, even if you have COVID-19 symptoms. Note that you may not take paid sick leave under the FFCRA if you become ill with an illness not related to COVID-19. Depending on your employer’s expectations and your condition, however, you may be able to telework during your period of quarantine.




My child’s school or place of care has moved to online instruction or to another model in which children are expected or required to complete assignments at home. Is it “closed”?


Yes. If the physical location where your child received instruction or care is now closed, the school or place of care is “closed” for purposes of paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave. This is true even if some or all instruction is being provided online or whether, through another format such as “distance learning,” your child is still expected or required to complete assignments.




As an employer, how much do I pay a seasonal employee with an irregular schedule for each day of paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave that he or she takes?


You may calculate the daily amount you must pay a seasonal employee with an irregular schedule by taking the following steps.

First, you should calculate how many hours of leave your seasonal employee is entitled to take each day. Because your employee works an irregular schedule, this is equal to the average number of hours each day that he or she was scheduled to work over the period of employment, up to the last six months. Please note that you should exclude from this calculation off-season periods during which the employee did not work.

Second, you should calculate the seasonal employee’s regular hourly rate of pay. This is calculated by adding up all wages paid over the period of employment, up to the last six months, and then dividing that sum by the number of hours actually worked over the same period. Again, you should exclude off-season periods during which the employee did not work.

Third, you multiply the daily hours of leave (first calculation) by your employee’s regular hourly rate of pay (second calculation) to compute the base daily paid leave amount.

Fourth, you should determine the actual daily paid leave amount, which depends on the type of paid leave taken and the reason for such paid leave.

You must pay your seasonal employee the full base daily paid leave amount, up to $511 per day and $5,110 in total, if the employee is taking paid sick leave for any of the following reasons:

    • Your employee is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;
    • Your employee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19; or
    • Your employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and is seeking a medical diagnosis.

You must pay your seasonal employee 2/3 of the base daily paid leave amount, up to $200 per day and $2,000 in total, if your employee is taking paid sick leave for any of the following reasons:

    • Your employee is caring for an individual who either is subject to a quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19 or who has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19;
    • Your employee is caring for his or her child whose school or place of care is closed, or child care provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19 related reasons; or
    • Your employee is experiencing any other substantially similar condition, as determined by the Secretary of Health and Human Services.

You must pay your seasonal employee 2/3 of the base daily paid leave amount, up to $200 per day and $10,000 in total, if the employee is taking expanded family and medical leave to care for the employee’s child whose school or place of care is closed, or child care provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19-related reasons. Please note that if your seasonal employees are not scheduled to work, for example, because it is the off-season, then you do not have to provide paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave.





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