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Questions about taking leave from work?
If you need to take leave from work due to COVID-19—whether it’s an illness or a child care or school-related situation—your employer has the option to provide paid leave in some cases.
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)
This required private sector companies and nonprofits with fewer than 500 employees as well as all public agencies to offer paid emergency leave if employees couldn’t work for COVID-related reasons. The law expired on Dec. 31, 2020.
Although Congress did not extend the FFCRA, employers can voluntarily continue to follow its guidance for offering full-time employees 80 hours of paid sick leave and 12 weeks of expanded family medical leave if they have not already used the full amount. Part-time employees could be offered fewer hours of leave, depending on their schedules.
An employee can request to take leave if the employee is unable to work or telework because the employee:
- Is subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19.
- Has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine related to COVID-19.
- Is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and is seeking a medical diagnosis.
- 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 care provider to self-quarantine related to COVID-19.
- Is caring for his or her child whose school or place of care is closed (or child care provider is unavailable) due to COVID-19 related reasons.
- Is experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Small businesses are exempt if:
- They have fewer than 50 employees.
- The employee’s leave is to care for a child whose school or place of care is closed (or child care provider unavailable), but only if requirements of the FFCRA would jeopardize the business’ viability.
If you have already used paid emergency leave for COVID-related reasons, your employer is no longer required to give you additional leave.