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The US has enacted law H.R.6201 - Families First Coronavirus Response Act which seems to mainly tackle elementary/secondary students' food availability, but also expanded FMLA among other things. I've seen various posts on Facebook that are, at best, outdated or, at worst, straight-up false. Some of the posts I've seen state that the US is requiring 2-week paid leave. But the summary of the law makes it sound like that falls to the state's unemployment program. When reading the actual text of the law regarding paid leave, it states that the first 10 days are unpaid; any leave after that is paid. So what does paid leave look like then?

For example, my place of business is shutting down next week, March 30th, and maybe subsequent weeks. I'm told that I can use PTO (of which I have none) or draw unemployment. Assuming that COVID-19 cases skyrocket in my county and we shutdown for more than 10 days, do I start getting paid on Day 11?

To further muddy the water, there is an exemption for businesses with fewer than 50 employees. I think this replaces the previous exemption of businesses with more than 500 employees.

If the above is correct, let's say my factory (in Kansas) has 150 employees, but is owned by a company (national, but headquartered in Michigan) with >>500 employees. The company is a subsidiary of a larger, international corporation (I have no idea how many are employed under the corporation).

Do I still qualify for paid leave on Day 1? Day 11? Not at all (this is America; bootstraps etc)?

Assume that I am a healthy, essential employee with no children. Why we're still shutting down despite being deemed essential is beyond me.

  • Are you asking generally what the federal mandates are, or about your specific case, in which case it would be important to know what state you're in? – divibisan Mar 26 at 15:29
  • @divibisan I guess both. What is it generally and how does it apply to my case? – Lux Claridge Mar 26 at 15:41
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The Department of Labor has a nifty Q&A page (Questions 2 and 3 in particular). In short, private sector corporations are considered as a single employer and thus count each employee within the company. If the employee count is greater than 500 the corporation in question is exempt from paid leave due to COVID-19

For what kind of coverage a smaller company can expect, this fact sheet also provided by DoL states that:

Generally, the Act provides that employees of covered employers are eligible for:

  • Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave at the employee’s regular rate of pay where the employee is unable to work because the employee is quarantined (pursuant to Federal, State, or local government order or advice of a health care provider), and/or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis; or

  • Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay because the employee is unable to work because of a bona fide need to care for an individual subject to quarantine (pursuant to Federal, State, or local government order or advice of a health care provider), or to care for a child (under 18 years of age) whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19, and/or the employee is experiencing a substantially similar condition as specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Secretaries of the Treasury and Labor; and

  • Up to an additional 10 weeks of paid expanded family and medical leave at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay where an employee, who has been employed for at least 30 calendar days, is unable to work due to a bona fide need for leave to care for a child whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19.

To summarize, paid leave applies if the private sector employee shows symptoms of COVID-19, is told to self-quarantine by health care provider, is quarantined by federal/state/local order, or if employee is taking care of a family member that qualifies for one of the above reasons or if employee's child(ren) is stuck at home due to school/daycare closures related to COVID-19.

Federal employees are still covered by Title II of the Family and Medical Leave Act, which was not amended by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

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  • Looks like I needed to look at Google just a little bit more to find the answer, but here we are. – Lux Claridge Mar 26 at 15:43

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