The emergency sick leave mandate package passed by Congress last month means workers across the country will have one less coronavirus-related concern going forward. Under the program, employees who can’t work due to COVID-19 illness, are under quarantine or who are taking care of children are now eligible for up to two weeks of paid sick leave.
The Houston Chronicle spoke with Estes Thorne & Carr’s Terah Moxley in the March 31, 2020, story “Millions of Texans Get New Paid Sick, Parental Leave Benefits to Battle Coronavirus.” She also provided a comprehensive look at the provisions of the full Families First Coronavirus Response Act in the April issue of the Dallas Bar Association’s Headnotes.
Although limited to COVID-19 illnesses, the new family leave benefits expands the universe of U.S. workers who receive paid family leave through the end of the year. There are, however, limitations, Terah told the Chronicle. Under the FMLA, employees are entitled to 12 weeks of family and medical leave each year to care for their own illness or the illnesses of family members, and child-care coronavirus care counts toward that total.
And if you get sick later in the year after using up 10 weeks of coronavirus family-related care this spring and summer? Terah told the Chronicle, you’ve got just two weeks remaining of family and medical leave and may have to rely on other laws such as the federal Americans with Disabilities Act to get extra time to recover.
She added that other benefits, such as municipal sick leave ordinances, may be available. Otherwise workers may have to rely on the goodwill of their employer.
The Chronicle article can be found here.
The Headnotes article can be found here.