In light of the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which will go into effect on April 1, 2020, companies should consider implementing a new paid sick leave policy.   Below, for reference only, is a sample policy to consider.   Any new paid sick leave policy should be tailored to each particular workplace, and this policy is not intended to serve as, or to replace, legal advice on this important subject.

SAMPLE Emergency Paid Sick Leave Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act Policy:

In light of the COVID-19 epidemic, the recently-implemented federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (the “Act”) and our Company’s commitment to the safety and well-being of its employees and other members of the community, the Company has adopted this temporary Emergency Paid Sick Leave (“EPSL”) Policy (the “Policy”).  Under the Policy, employees may take a paid leave of absence, up to a maximum of two weeks of paid sick leave in addition to other paid leave provided by the Company to the employee, subject to the terms and conditions outlined below:

A.  Eligibility: All employees are eligible for EPSL.  Under this Policy, employees who are normally scheduled to work more than 40 hours per week are eligible for up to a maximum of 80 hours of EPSL this calendar year.  Employees who normally work less than 40 hours per week are entitled to a pro-rated amount of EPSL based on the average number of hours the employee works during a two-week period, up to a maximum of 80 hours of EPSL.  (For example, employees who work 48 hours during a normal two-week period, will be eligible for up to 48 hours of EPSL.)  For such employees whose schedule varies from week to week to such an extent that the Company is unable to determine with certainty the number of hours the employee would have worked if the employee had not taken EPSL, the Company will calculate an average number of hours consistent with the provisions of the Act.

B.  Reasons for Emergency Paid Sick Leave: An employee may use this EPSL if the employee is unable to work or telework because:

  1. The employee is subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;
  2. The employee has been advised by a health-care provider to self-quarantine because of COVID-19 concerns;
  3. The employee is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and is seeking a medical diagnosis;
  4. The employee is caring for an individual who is subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19, or has been advised by a health provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19;
  5. The employee is caring for the employee’s child because the child’s school or place of child care has been closed, or because the child’s child care provider is unavailable due to COVID-19 precautions; or
  6. The employee is experiencing any other substantially similar condition as may be specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Labor.

C.  Carryover: EPSL provided under the Act will not carry over to the following calendar year and is in addition to any paid sick leave currently provided by the Company.

D.  Request to use Emergency Paid Sick Leave: An employee who seeks to use this EPSL is required to request such leave in writing to the Human Resources Department, stating the reason the leave is requested.

E.  Reasonable Notice: After the first workday (or portion thereof) an employee receives EPSL under this Policy, the Company may, in its sole discretion, require the employee to provide reasonable notice of the need for additional EPSL in order to continue receiving such EPSL.

F.  Termination: If an employee’s employment should end for any reason, any unused EPSL will not be paid out as wages upon termination, and shall be forfeited by the employee.

G.  Calculation of Rate of Pay During EPSL: Employees will receive their full pay (not to exceed $511 per day and $5,110 in the aggregate) during any period of EPSL that is taken for a use described in Paragraph 1, 2, or 3 of Section B of this Policy.  Employees will receive 2/3 of their regular rate of pay (not to exceed $200 per day and $2,000 in the aggregate) during any period of EPSL that is taken for a use described in Paragraph 4, 5, or 6 of Section B of this Policy.  Employees may be eligible for additional leave for reasons specified in Paragraph 5 of Section B of this Policy under the Act’s emergency expanded family and medical leave.

H.  Return to Work: Prior to returning to work, employees will be required to complete a Confidential Health Form, certifying that the employee does not present a risk of spreading COVID-19 in the workplace.

I.  Termination of EPSL: Once the reason for which the employee took EPSL has concluded, the employee must return to work on the employee’s next regularly scheduled workday or shift.

J.  Overtime: EPSL does not count as hours worked for purposes of calculating an employee’s entitlement to overtime.

K.  Documentation: The Company may, in its sole discretion, request that employees provide documentation to support a request for EPSL, and will notify employees if documentation is required.

L.  No Need for Replacement Employee: Employees who take EPSL are not required to search for or find a replacement employee to cover the hours during which the employee is using EPSL.

M.  Coordination with Other Laws: The Company will comply with any and all federal and state laws enacted to address the COVID-19 virus, and this policy is drafted to coincide with the Act. In the event of any conflict between this Policy and the Act, or any other paid sick leave laws passed in response to COVID-19, the terms of the applicable state or federal legislation shall apply.

N.  Effective Date and Expiration: This Policy becomes effective on April 1, 2020 and shall expire on December 31, 2020, or earlier upon such notice from the Company.

 

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