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Businesses are closed. Schools are closed. And the CDC is recommending that you STAY INSIDE for at least the next few weeks. Heck, the White House published a “15 Days To Slow The Spread” guide!
But here’s the deal, many people do NOT have access to paid sick leave, or their company policies are woefully inadequate to deal with the current state of emergency we are in.
So, to help you navigate your options for getting a PAYCHECK during this outbreak, I am putting together a resource to keep you updated an informed.
Note: This is an expansion of the Sick Leave section on my COVID-19 Financial Resources Page
Table of Contents
Companies With Updated Sick Leave Policies
I wanted to highlight some companies that are STEPPING UP and adjusting their Paid Sick Leave policies in light of the recent health crisis.
Gig Economy Jobs
Instacart – offering 14 days paid leave to those diagnosed with COVID-19 or quarantined (until April 8th)
Doordash – Offering two weeks of paid leave to those diagnosed with COVID-19 or quarantined
Postmates – put together a Postmates Fleet Relief Fund, and offering to those diagnosed or quarantined (amount not specified)
Uber – offering 14 days paid leave to those diagnosed with COVID-19 or quarantined
Lyft – offering up to two weeks of paid leave (based on previous 4 weeks of work) to those diagnosed with COVID-19 or quarantined
Popular Chains Stores & Restaurants
Walmart – offering two weeks’ paid leave to those diagnosed with COVID-19 or quarantined
Kroger – offering two weeks’ paid leave to those diagnosed with COVID-19 or quarantined
Starbucks – offering additional 2 weeks’ paid leave to those diagnosed with COVID-19 or quarantined
Whole Foods – offering additional 2 weeks’ paid leave to those diagnosed with COVID-19 or quarantined
Trader Joe’s – offering a reimbursement to those diagnosed with COVID-19 or quarantined
Microsoft – will continue to pay hourly workers full wages even with reduced work hours
Apple – unlimited sick pay for hourly workers
Google – established a sick pay fund for contractors and hourly workers to continue regular pay rate
Amazon – created a relief fund for contractors and hourly workers and will give a $2/hr raise for hours worked thru April
Twitter – will continue to pay hourly workers full wages even with reduced work hours
Facebook – will continue to pay hourly workers AND give $1,000 bonus to every worker
There are many more, please contact your HR department to understand your paid sick leave benefits.
For Workers Without Sick Leave Policies
Paid Sick Leave Summary
– If you are diagnosed with COVID19, quarantined or cannot work due to school closures, you may qualify for sick pay
– This is for employees of companies with less than 500 employees
– Most workers can get up to 2-weeks of sick pay at their normal pay rate ($511/day max)
– If you have kids with school closures and you are unable to work, you can get an additional 10-weeks of sick pay at a 66% pay rate ($200/day max)
If you work for a small business that does NOT offer paid sick leave, there is a new bill being reviewed in Congress this week to help.
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act is an emergency bill created to help those who are not able to work due to the COVID-19 virus.
There are 2 parts of the bill you need to know about
I will update this article to reflect changes, and when it is voted into law.
FAMILIES FIRST CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE ACT
This emergency bill is currently being reviewed, and is expected to pass this week. It directly affects those who work for companies with under 500 employees.
Here’s a breakdown of the 2 main parts of the bill, and how they will affect YOU and getting dollars into your pocket.
Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act
- If you work for a company with less than 500 employees, you may be eligible for 2-weeks of sick pay if you are affected by COVID19 (sick or quarantined).
- If you must care for a family member, or take time off due to school closures, you can also get 2-week of pay (at a 2/3 pay rate)
- This includes part-time employees
Employers (with less than 500 employees) will be required to pay for two weeks of paid sick leave at the employees’ original pay rate (Update 3/17/20: now capped at $511/day). This includes part-time employees (based on average hours worked).
If you have to take time off to take care of family members who contract coronavirus or take time off due to closure of a childcare facility, you can receive two weeks of sick pay at a 66% wage rate (Update 3/17/20: now capped at $200/day).
Note: This applies to employees who were working for the company for the 30 days prior to being impacted.
Note: Small businesses with LESS THAN 50 employees may opt out of these benefits if it is determined they will “jeopardize the viability of the business”
There is also a tax credit available to self-employed workers who work for an employer (such as Uber/Lyft or Instacart). They can get the same two weeks of average pay at their regular rate, but instead of a paycheck, they would receive a refundable tax credit instead.
The Emergency Family And Medical Leave Expansion Act
- If you work for a company with less than 500 employees, you may be eligible for 10 additional weeks of sick pay if you have to take time off due to school closures (at a 66% pay rate, max $200/day)
- Remember, this is not the typical full paycheck amount, so adjust your budget accordingly.
- This includes part-time employees
The EFMLEA is an expansion of the FMLA, which protects employees from losing their job when needing to take extended time off for medical reasons (up to 12 weeks). The original FMLA policies allow for 12 weeks of UNPAID time off.
The added provisions in the EFMLEA does give paid time off. These benefits kick in after 2 weeks off (first 2 weeks covered by EPSLA above), but the remainder of the 10 weeks will allow for PAID TIME OFF at 66% of your original pay.
The FMLA currently allows 12 weeks off work without pay and no risk be of being fired. With the new bill, these would now to include 66% pay benefit as well (Update 3/17/20: now capped at $200/day).
The first 2 weeks are covered under the EPSLA, but the next 10 weeks are covered under this new provision.
Update 3/17/20: This new provision now ONLY applies to families where children’s schools are closed, not for those caring for others who are affected by the virus.
The paid sick leave provisions in this bill would be available until December 31, 2020.
Employers are given a 100% tax credit to pay for this (quarterly), and the U.S. Treasury announced plans to expedite this funding through the IRS.
(note: Employer credit is capped at $511 per day for sick/quarantined employees, and $200 per day for family-related absence)
If you are unsure whether you will qualify for sick pay, please contact your HR department to find out.
How Long Until I Get Paid?
The bill is slated to pass on Wednesday, 3/18/20. This should mean it will be signed into law, and small businesses will need to comply as quickly as possible.
There are no current required timelines on how quickly companies will need to send out checks to employees.
In the case of income disruption during this, you may also need to consider applying for your State Unemployment Benefits, as this same bill gives states the ability to assist quickly as well.