Know Your Rights: Emergency Paid Sick Days and Paid Leave for Child Care and Coronavirus
What is the Families First Coronavirus Response Act?
With the coronavirus pandemic affecting nearly everyone in the country, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) provides many workers new rights to paid sick time and paid family leave to use for certain coronavirus-related health and family caregiving reasons, including for quarantine and child care. The law contains important paid sick days and paid leave provisions that may help you take care of yourself and your family.
Emergency Paid Sick Time
For immediate needs, the FFCRA provides workers with up to 80 hours (10 days/two work-weeks) of paid sick time to address illness and caregiving needs associated with the coronavirus and/or the closure of a child’s school or place of care if the employee is unable to telework, regardless of how long the employee has worked for the employer.
For what reasons can I take paid sick time?
Emergency paid sick time can be taken:
- If you are subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order;
- If you have been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine;
- If you are experiencing coronavirus symptoms and are seeking a medical diagnosis;
- To care for an individual subject to a federal, state or local quarantine or isolation order;
- To care for an individual who has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine;
- To care for a child whose school or place of care is closed (including if their child care provider is unavailable) for reasons related to coronavirus.
How much emergency paid sick time can I use?
- Full-time employees can take up to 80 hours (10 work days) of paid sick time.
- Part-time employees can take the number of hours they work on average over a two-week period.
How much do I get paid when I take emergency paid sick time?
The rate of pay for sick time depends on the reason(s) for which time is taken.
- If you are taking paid sick time to care for yourself:
- You will be paid at your regular rate of pay, up to $511 per day.
- If your regular rate of pay is below the minimum wage, you will be paid at least the minimum wage.
- If you are taking sick time to care for someone else:
- You will be paid at two-thirds of your regular rate of pay, up to $200 per day.
- If your regular rate of pay is below the minimum wage, you will be paid at least two-thirds of the minimum wage.
Use the Minimum Wage Tracker to find the minimum wage in your jurisdiction.
Will my employer continue providing health insurance coverage when I am on paid sick time?
- Yes, if you are enrolled in health coverage through your employer, your employer must continue coverage during your paid sick leave.
I already earn paid sick time, PTO or other paid leave benefits through my employer. What happens to the time I have already accrued?
- You can use this emergency paid sick time first before taking any other time your employer provides.
- Your employer cannot require you to use other accrued time before or instead of the emergency paid sick time.
- It is important to note that emergency paid sick time cannot be taken retroactively.
Emergency Paid Family Leave for Child Care
For longer-term child care needs, the Families First Act provides up to 12 weeks of job-protected family leave for working parents whose child’s school or usual place of care is closed or unavailable due to the coronavirus. This is a new type of leave through the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
For what reasons can I take emergency paid leave for child care?
- Emergency paid leave can be taken to care for a child whose school or place of care is closed (including if their child care provider is unavailable) due to a public health emergency. However, this leave is only available if you are unable to work or telework.
What types of child care closures are covered?
- Licensed child care centers, group home child care providers, family child care providers, or a provider who is paid for providing child care services on a regular basis are covered. If you normally receive child care from one of these providers and it is no longer available due to a public health emergency, you may be eligible for emergency paid leave.
- If you normally receive unpaid child care from a relative or other unlicensed provider, it is probably not covered.
How much emergency paid leave can I use?
- Full-time employees can take up to 12 weeks of leave, paid as if they worked 40 hours per week, although the first two weeks (10 days) can be unpaid.
- Part-time employees can take up to 12 weeks of leave, paid as if they worked for the number of hours they are normally scheduled to work over that period, although the first two workweeks can be unpaid.
Do I get paid my usual salary when I take emergency paid leave?
- The first 10 days of emergency leave can be unpaid (typically covered by emergency paid sick days).
- Emergency paid family leave is paid at a rate of two-thirds (2/3) of your regular rate of pay.
- The employer is not required to pay more than $200 per day and $10,000 total.
Will my employer continue providing health insurance coverage when I am on paid family leave?
- Yes, if you are enrolled in health coverage through your employer, your employer must continue coverage during your paid family leave.
Will my job be there when I return from taking paid leave?
- Yes. Workers who take emergency leave under the Families First Act are entitled — upon returning from leave — to be restored to their job or an equivalent position.
Some states and localities have additional paid sick days and paid leave protections. Learn more about state and local paid sick days protections here, and state paid family and medical leave protections here.