Coronavirus and Employer FMLA

Posted by BAS - 12 March, 2020


The Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor has frequently asked questions addressing COVID-19 and the Family and Medical Leave Act. If an employee misses work for an illness such as the flu or coronavirus, or if an employee is caring for a sick family member, such leave may be covered under the FMLA. The FMLA requires covered employers to provide employees job-protected, unpaid leave for certain family and medical reasons. Employees on FMLA leave may continue their group health coverage under the same terms as in effect before the leave.

The DOL new FAQs may be accessed by clicking here.

Questions include:

  • Can an employee stay home under FMLA leave to avoid getting pandemic influenza?
  • What legal responsibility do employers have to allow parents or care givers time off from work to care for the sick or children who have been dismissed from school? 
  • Is an employer required by law to provide paid sick leave to employees who are out of work because they have pandemic influenza, have been exposed to a family member with influenza, or are caring for a family member with influenza?
  • May employers send employees home if they show symptoms of pandemic influenza? Can the employees be required to take sick leave? Do they have to be paid? May employers prevent employees from coming to work?
  • May an employer require an employee who is out sick with pandemic influenza to provide a doctor’s note, submit to a medical exam, or remain symptom-free for a specified amount of time before returning to work?
  • May employers change their paid sick leave policy if a number of employees are out and they cannot afford to pay them all?
  • If an employer temporarily closes his or her place of business because of an influenza pandemic and chooses to lay off some but not all employees, are there any federal laws that would govern this decision?
  • What types of policy options do employers have for preventing abuse of leave?

Topics: HR & Benefits Compliance, Covid

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