The Family and Medical Leave Act has been around for many years. It is designed to protect your job for the first 12 weeks that you are unable to work as the result of a serious health condition, among other protections. This was always unpaid leave. Now, your rights have been expanded under the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act. This new law provides you with 10 weeks of paid FMLA leave if you meet the following criteria:
- You have been employed by your employer for at least 30 calendar days at the time you request leave.
- You are “unable to work” (or telework) due to childcare if your child’s elementary or secondary school or day care has closed or is unavailable due to COVID-19.
- Your employer meets the legal size requirements.
Note: This provision works in conjunction with the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act right below.
PAID SICK LEAVE
The Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act provides up to 80 hours of paid sick leave to individuals who “cannot work” “telework” due to the following:
- You are under a government quarantine order.
- You have been advised by a Health Care Provider to self-quarantine.
- You are caring for someone in either of the above categories.
- You have COVID-19 symptoms and you are waiting for a medical diagnosis.
- You are caring for a child who is out of school/child care because of COVID-19.
Note: Your employer must meet the legal size requirements.
Currently the maximum number of weeks of eligibility for Pennsylvania unemploymentcompensation is 26. A bill is in Congress to expand the number to 39 weeks. That bill also increases the weekly benefit amount by $600.00, for up to four months; includes self-employed individuals and independent contractors; and funds the waiting week (PA has agreed to waive the waiting week).Law
SHORT-TERM AND LONG-TERM DISABILIY
- Find out if your employer carries a Short-Term Disability policy and/or Long-Term Disability policy.
- COVID-19 should be covered by the STD or LTD policy.
- Obtain a medical opinion that you cannot safely be in the workplace.
- Give notice to your employer before you stop working.
- NOTE: The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) generally prohibits your employer from conducting medical inquiries and examinations. This may come into play with your application.
COVID-19 is definitely covered under Pennsylvania’s Workers’ Compensation Act. A claim would fall under both the injury section and the Occupational Disease section of the Workers’ Compensation Act. The challenge is to secure a medical opinion that more likely than not you acquired it in the course of your employment (which can include attending an employer sponsored social event). The application and overlap of your workplace rights is fact sensitive. At our law firm, we handle these questions all day, every day. Call or email us for a free consultation. We are available — remotely — 24/7. In the words of Governor Wolf and Secretary of Health Levine –stay home, stay calm, stay safe.