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Worker Rights and Benefits: What Help Can I Get from the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act?



What Benefits does the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act Provide?

The Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (“EPSLA”), called Emergency Paid Leave in these FAQs, gives some paid time off to people who have to miss work because of the coronavirus.

 Am I Able to Get Emergency Paid Leave?

All current employees, full time and part time, are eligible for paid time off.  You do not have to work for your employer for a certain amount of time.

 How Do I Qualify for Emergency Paid Leave?

Employees qualify for paid leave if they cannot work or telework for the following reasons:

  1. The employee is under a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order.
  2. The employee has been told by a doctor to self-quarantine.
  3. The employee has symptoms of Coronavirus and is seeking a medical diagnosis.
  4. The employee is caring for a person under a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order or who has been told by a doctor to self-quarantine.
  5. The employee is experiencing any other “substantially similar condition” identified by the Secretary of Heath and Human Services, the Secretary of the Treasury, and/or the Secretary of Labor.

NOTE: None of these reasons apply if the employee can work away from the office, or “telework.”    Telework is meant to include creative work agreements, such as taking on different work assignments or working different hours outside the window of normal hours worked.

Does Emergency Paid Leave Affect My Other Paid Time Off?

Employees can use any paid leave they already had. Employers are not allowed to change their polices to provide less leave than already promised.

Employers cannot require employees to use their existing leave first.  Employees may choose to take Emergency Paid Leave before any other leave provided by the employer.

 How Much Will I Be Paid if I Take Emergency Paid Leave?

Full-time employees can get 80 hours of paid leave.

Part-time employees can get paid for their average hours worked per day in the last two-weeks.

Employees can only get a certain maximum total amount of Emergency Paid Leave.

You cannot be paid more than $511 per day and $5,110 total if you take Emergency Paid Leave for any of the following reasons:

  1. The employee is under a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order.
  2. The employee has been told by a doctor to self-quarantine.
  3. The employee has symptoms of Coronavirus and is seeking medical diagnosis.

You cannot be paid more than $200 per day and $2000 total if you take Emergency Paid Leave for any of the following reasons:

  1. The employee is caring for a person who is under a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order or who has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine.
  2. The employee is caring for a son or daughter of the employee whose school or daycare is closed.
  3. The employee is experiencing any other “substantially similar condition” identified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, the Secretary of the Treasury, and/or Secretary of Labor.

How do I Ask for Emergency Paid Leave?

Employees should give their employer a written request for “Emergency Paid Sick Leave.”  The request should explain the reason the employee is requesting the paid sick leave and how long the employee is asking to be paid while off work.

Click here for a sample form to use when requesting Emergency Paid Leave.

What Happens When I Go Back to Work?

The employer must give the employee the same or very similar position.

However, this requirement does not apply if:

  1. The employer has less than 25 employees; and
  2. The position no longer exists because of the public health emergency, AND
  3. The employer tries to give the employee an equivalent position within one year.

The employer must try to contact the employee when an equivalent position becomes available.

Where Can I Find More Information on Emergency Paid Leave ?

See below for information for employees from the federal Department of Labor:

Quick Exit