Restaurants, and other companies in the United States, with fewer than 500 employees are now required to pay employees who miss work due to issues related to the novel coronavirus pandemic, following the signing into law on March 18 of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. That includes sick leave and, in most cases, leave to take care of children.
Starting April 2, any workers subject to quarantine or isolation due to COVID-19, as well as patients experiencing symptoms and awaiting diagnosis, must be paid their regular pay up to $511 per day, up to a total of $5,110, according to the law.
Additionally, workers who aren’t sick themselves but are caring for others in quarantine, or for a child with symptoms similar to those of COVID-19, are eligible to 2/3 pay up to $200 a day and $2,000 total.
Full-time employees get a total of 80 hours of paid sick leave, and part-time workers get the average number of hours they work in a two-week period.
The law specifies that employees don’t need to find a replacement for their shifts, nor do they need to accrue paid sick time or undergo a waiting period before they are eligible for pay in either of these situations, nor can they be required to take other paid leave they have accrued.
That’s not the case for an additional employee benefit enacted by the law, which gives paid leave to those who must take care of children because school or daycare is closed or because their child care provider is unavailable due to a public health emergency.
After 10 days of unpaid leave, or using paid leave if they’re eligible, employers must pay employees who have worked for them for at least 30 days at least two-thirds of their pay, up to $200 per day or $10,000 total, for up to 12 weeks.
Private businesses with fewer than 50 employees may be exempted from paying that last benefit if doing so “would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern,” according to the wording of the legislation.
The law stipulates that employers do get tax credit for whatever they pay employees under the new requirements. The law is in effect until December 31, 2020.
Companies with more than 500 employees are exempted from the requirements.
Contact Bret Thorn at [email protected]
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