In March, Congress passed a law meant to help workers in the wake of COVID-19. This law is deeply significant for the U.S., which lacks centralized or widespread paid leave programs. But what does this law provide for workers, and who is able to receive its benefits?
According to the New York Times, under this law, “eligible workers can receive two weeks off at full pay, up to $511 a day, for sick leave, and 12 weeks at two-thirds pay, up to $200 a day, if their children’s schools or child care are closed.”
In other situations, it provides qualified workers two weeks of paid sick leave “if they are ill, quarantined or seeking diagnosis or preventive care for coronavirus, or if they are caring for sick family members.”
As the country reopens but schools remain closed, often until at least September, it’s important for these provisions to exist so workers who cannot afford child care don’t have to choose between making money to support their child or foregoing a paycheck to stay home and watch them.
You are potentially eligible under the paid leave law if you work at a company with under 500 employees, whether you’re full-time or part-time — self-employed workers, like gig economy drivers and the like, may also be eligible. However, businesses that employ fewer than 50 workers were allowed to opt out of the paid leave program if they desired. Frontline workers may also be denied leave, such as health care workers.
There may be more exclusions you face if you’re seeking paid child care leave rather than paid sick leave.
The Labor Department has created guidelines that show how much paid leave employees should get. Workers who qualify by these metrics and wish to take leave need only notify their employer.
While some workers are not eligible for paid leave under this law, others are unaware this paid leave law exists. If you have been denied paid leave or if your employer has not made it clear that you’re entitled to paid leave under this law, we want to help. Contact one of our lawyers today for a free, confidential evaluation. You may be owed back pay or other compensation that can help you take care of your family in these times.