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Many Wisconsin employees are concerned about their uncertain employment future due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. We have fielded many questions from Wisconsin workers since the outbreak started, and our attorneys have diligently kept up on developing laws and regulations so we can assist you. Although this area of law is constantly shifting, the answers to common employment law questions below can provide struggling employees helpful information and resources.

Common Questions on Paid and Sick Leave Related to Coronavirus 

1. If I or my family members become sick with the coronavirus, am I allowed to take time-off from work?

Yes, you may take time off. The length of time and related benefits differ depending on the number of people employed by your company, as indicated by the Family & Medical Leave Act (larger employers) and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (smaller employers).

The federal Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows a qualified employee to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave within a 12-month period if they or an immediate family member requires care for a “serious health condition.” The law also entitles a qualified employee to continued health insurance benefits and requires their employer to offer them the same or equivalent position when they return. Qualified employees are those who have worked for at least one year, over 1,250 hours in the prior year, and whose employer has at least 50 employees in a 75-mile radius.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) allows employees who work for employers of less than 500 employees to take up to 80 hours of emergency sick leave. An employee may take emergency sick leave under the FFCRA if they are:

  1. subject to quarantine or isolation order or caring for someone who is subject to a quarantine or self-isolation order;
  2. advised be a health care provider to self-quarantine due to coronavirus concerns or caring for someone who is advised to self-quarantine;
  3. experiencing symptoms of coronavirus and are seeking a medical diagnosis;
  4. caring for their child if, because of coronavirus protections, their school or day care has been closed or their childcare provider is unavailable; or
  5. experiencing similar conditions, as specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services.

The rate of pay varies depending on the circumstances and more information is available through the Department of Labor.

2. As an employee, how much will I be paid while taking paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave under the FFCRA?

Your leave pay depends on your normal pay schedule as well as why you are taking leave. 

Sickness or Quarantine Related to COVID-19

If you are taking paid sick leave because you are unable to work or telework due to a need for leave because you:

  • are subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;
  • have been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19; or
  • are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and are seeking medical diagnosis,

you will receive for each applicable hour the greater of:

  1. your regular rate of pay,
  2. the federal minimum wage in effect under the FLSA, or
  3. the applicable State or local minimum wage.

 In these circumstances, you are entitled to a maximum of $511 per day, or $5,110 total over the entire paid sick leave period.

Unusual Care Responsibilities Due to COVID-19

If you are taking paid sick leave because you are: 

  • caring for an individual who is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19 or an individual who has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19;
  • caring for your child whose school or place of care is closed, or child care provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19 related reasons; or
  • experiencing any other substantially-similar condition that may arise, as specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services,

you are entitled to compensation at 2/3 of the greater of the amounts above.

Under these circumstances, you are subject to a maximum of $200 per day, or $2,000 over the entire two week period. 

General Family & Medical Leave

If you are taking expanded family and medical , you may take paid sick leave for the first two weeks of that leave period, or you may substitute any accrued vacation leave, personal leave, or medical or sick leave you have under your employer’s policy. For the following ten weeks, you will be paid for your leave at an amount no less than 2/3 of your regular rate of pay for the hours you would be normally scheduled to work.

If you take paid sick leave during the first two weeks of unpaid expanded family and medical leave, you will not receive more than $200 per day or $12,000 for the twelve weeks that include both paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave when you are on leave to care for your child whose school or place of care is closed, or child care provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19 related reasons. 

If you take employer-provided accrued leave during those first two weeks, you are entitled to the full amount for such accrued leave, even if that is greater than $200 per day.

3. What is my regular rate of pay for purposes of the FFCRA?

For FFCRA purposes, the pay rate used to calculate your paid leave is the average pay over the six months prior to your leave date. If you have not worked six months for your current employer, we use the average pay for each week you have worked for your current employer.

If you are paid with commissions, tips, or piece rates, these amounts are added into the above calculation the same way they are under the FLSA.

You can compute the leave pay rate for any employee by adding all regular compensation for the appropriate period (as above) and dividing that sum by all hours actually worked in the same period.

4. May I take 80 hours of paid sick leave for my self-quarantine and then another, separate amount of paid sick leave for another reason provided under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act?

No. You may take up to two weeks—or ten days—(80 hours for a full-time employee, or the average number of hours a part-time employee works over a typical two-week period) of paid sick leave for any combination of qualifying reasons (see Question #1). However, you may not receive more than 80 hours total paid sick leave under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act.

5. If I am home with my child because his or her school or place of care is closed, or child care provider is unavailable, do I get paid sick leave, expanded family and medical leave, or both—how do they interact?

You may be eligible for both types of leave, but you may not exceed a total of twelve weeks total paid leave.

You may take both paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave to care for your child whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable due to COVID-19. The Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act provides for an initial two weeks of paid leave. This period thus covers the first ten workdays of expanded family and medical leave, which are otherwise unpaid under the Emergency and Family Medical Leave Expansion Act unless you elect to use existing vacation, personal, or medical or sick leave under your employer’s policy. After the first ten workdays have elapsed, you will receive 2/3 of your regular rate of pay for the hours you would have been scheduled to work in the subsequent ten weeks under the Emergency and Family Medical Leave Expansion Act.

Please note you can only receive the additional ten weeks of expanded family and medical leave under the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act for leave to care for your child whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable due to COVID-19.

6. Can my employer deny me paid sick leave if my employer gave me paid leave for a reason identified in the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act prior to the Act going into effect?

No. The Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act imposes a new leave requirement on employers effective beginning April 1, 2020. Any leave specified under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act granted prior to April 1 is not counted toward accumulated totals after April 1.

7. Is all leave under the FMLA now paid leave?

No. The only type of family and medical leave that is paid leave is expanded family and medical leave under the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act when such leave exceeds ten days. This includes only leave taken because the employee must care for a child whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable due to COVID-19. Other types of FMLA leave are allowed, but only as unpaid leave.

8. Are the paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave requirements retroactive?

No. See Question #6.

9. How do I know whether I have “been employed for at least 30 calendar days by the employer” for purposes of expanded family and medical leave?

You meet this requirement if you were on company payroll for the 30 calendar days immediately prior to the day your leave would begin. For example, if you want to take leave on April 1, 2020, you would need to have been on your employer’s payroll as of March 2, 2020.

If you have been working for a company as a temporary employee, and the company subsequently hires you on a full-time basis, you may count any days you previously worked as a temporary employee toward this 30-day eligibility period.

10. What documents do I need to give my employer to get paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave?

You must provide your employer documentation in support of your paid sick leave as specified in applicable IRS forms, instructions, and information.

Your employer may also require additional documents in support of your expanded family and medical leave taken to care for your child whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable due to COVID-19. For example, this may include a notice of closure or unavailability from your child’s school, place of care, or child care provider. This could be a notice posted on a government, school, or day care website, published in a newspaper, or emailed to you from the school, business or instiution. Your employer must retain this notice or documentation in support of expanded family and medical leave, including while you may be taking unpaid leave that runs concurrently with paid sick leave, if taken for the same reason. 

Please also note all existing certification requirements under the FMLA remain in effect if you are taking leave for one of the existing qualifying reasons (see Question #1) under the FMLA. For example, if you are taking leave beyond the two weeks of emergency paid sick leave because your medical condition for COVID-19-related reasons rises to the level of a serious health condition, you must continue to provide medical certifications under the FMLA if required by your employer.

11. When am I able to telework under the FFCRA?

You are unable to work if your employer has work available for you and one of the COVID-19 qualifying reasons (see Question #1) set forth in the FFCRA prevents you from being able to perform that work, either under normal circumstances at your normal worksite or by means of telework.

If you and your employer agree that you will work your normal number of hours, but outside of your normally scheduled hours (for instance early in the morning or late at night), then you are able to work and leave is not necessary unless a COVID-19 qualifying reason prevents you from working that schedule.

12. What does it mean to be unable to work, including telework for COVID-19 related reasons?

You are unable to work if your employer has work available for you and one of the COVID-19 qualifying reasons (see Question #1) set forth in the FFCRA prevents you from being able to perform that work, either under normal circumstances at your normal worksite or by means of telework.

If you and your employer agree that you will work your normal number of hours, but outside of your normally scheduled hours (for instance early in the morning or late at night), then you are able to work and leave is not necessary unless a COVID-19 qualifying reason prevents you from working that schedule.

13. If I am or become unable to telework, am I entitled to paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave?

If your employer permits teleworking—for example, allows you to perform certain tasks or work a certain number of hours from home or at a location other than your normal workplace—and you are unable to perform those tasks or work the required hours because of one of the qualifying reasons (see Question #1) for paid sick leave, then you are entitled to take paid sick leave.

Similarly, if you are unable to perform those teleworking tasks or work the required teleworking hours because you need to care for your child whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable due to COVID-19, then you are entitled to take expanded family and medical leave. Of course, if you are able to telework while caring for your child, paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave is not available.

14. May I take my paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave in multiple short periods (e.g. a few hours per day or a few days per week) while teleworking?

Yes, you may take intermittent, or non-continuous, leave if your employer allows it and if you are unable to telework your normal schedule due to qualifying reasons (see Question #1) in the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act.

Similarly, if you are prevented from teleworking your normal schedule because you need to care for your child whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable due to COVID-19, you and your employer may agree that you can take expanded family medical leave intermittently while teleworking. 

You may take intermittent leave in any increment, provided that you and your employer agree. For example, if you agree on a 90-minute increment, you could telework from 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM, take leave from 2:30 PM to 4:00 PM, and then return to teleworking.

15. May I take my paid sick leave intermittently while working at my usual worksite (as opposed to teleworking)?

It depends on why you are taking paid sick leave and whether your employer agrees. Unless you are teleworking, paid sick leave for qualifying reasons related to COVID-19 must be taken in full-day increments. It cannot be taken intermittently if the leave is being taken because:

  1. You are subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;
  2. You have been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19;
  3. You are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis;
  4. You are caring for an individual who either is subject to a quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19 or has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19; or
  5. You are experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Unless you are teleworking, once you begin taking paid sick leave for one or more of these qualifying reasons, you must continue to take paid sick leave each day until you either: 

  • use the full amount of paid sick leave or
  • no longer have a qualifying reason for taking paid sick leave.

This limit is imposed because if you are sick or possibly sick with COVID-19, or caring for an individual who is sick or possibly sick with COVID-19, the intent of FFCRA is to provide paid sick leave to keep you from spreading the virus to others.

If you no longer have a qualifying reason for taking paid sick leave before you exhaust your paid sick leave, you may take any remaining paid sick leave at a later time, until December 31, 2020, if another qualifying reason occurs.

In contrast, if you and your employer agree, you may take paid sick leave intermittently if you are taking paid sick leave to care for your child whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable due to COVID-19. For example, if your child is at home because his or her school or place of care is closed, or child care provider is unavailable, because of COVID-19 related reasons, you may take paid sick leave on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays to care for your child, but work at your normal worksite on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

16. May I take my expanded family and medical leave intermittently while my child’s school or place of care is closed, or child care provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19 related reasons, if I am not teleworking?

Yes, but only with your employer’s permission. Intermittent expanded family and medical leave should be permitted only when you and your employer agree upon such a schedule. For example, if your employer and you agree, you may take expanded family and medical leave on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, but work Tuesdays and Thursdays, while your child is at home because your child’s school or child care provider is closed or unavailable due to COVID-19, for the duration of your leave.

17. If my employer closed my worksite before April 1, 2020 (the effective date of the FFCRA), can I still get paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave?

No. If, prior to the FFCRA’s effective date, your employer sent you home and stops paying you because it does not have work for you to do, you will not get paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave but you may be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits. This is true whether your employer closes your worksite for lack of business or because it is required to close pursuant to a Federal, State, or local directive. You should contact us or the State of Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development if you have been subject to such an action.

18. If my employer closes my worksite on or after April 1, 2020 (the effective date of the FFCRA), but before I go out on leave, can I still get paid sick leave and/or expanded family and medical leave?

No. If your employer closes after the FFCRA’s effective date (even if you requested leave prior to the closure), you will not get paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave but you may be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits. This is true whether your employer closes your worksite for lack of business or because it was required to close pursuant to a Federal, State or local directive. You should contact your State workforce agency or State unemployment insurance office for specific questions about your eligibility.

19. If my employer closes my worksite while I am on paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave, what happens?

If your employer closes while you are on paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave, your employer must pay for any paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave you used before the employer closed. As of the date your employer closes your worksite, you are no longer entitled to paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave, but you may be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits. This is true whether your employer closes your worksite for lack of business or because the employer was required to close pursuant to a Federal, State or local directive. You should contact your State workforce agency or State unemployment insurance office for specific questions about your eligibility. For additional information, please refer to the U.S. Department of Labor’s CareerOneStop website.

20. If my employer is open, but furloughs me on or after April 1, 2020 (the effective date of the FFCRA), can I receive paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave?

No. If your employer furloughs you because it does not have enough work or business for you, you are not entitled to paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave. However, you may be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits.

21. If my employer closes my worksite on or after April 1, 2020 (the effective date of the FFCRA), but tells me that it will reopen at some time in the future, can I receive paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave?

No, not while your worksite is closed. If your employer closes your worksite, even for a short period of time, you are not entitled to take paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave. However, you may be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits. This is true whether your employer closes your worksite for lack of business or because it was required to close pursuant to a Federal, State, or local directive.

22. If my employer reduces my scheduled work hours, can I use paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for the hours that I am no longer scheduled to work?

No. If your employer reduces your work hours because it does not have work for you to perform, you may not use paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for the hours that you are no longer scheduled to work. This is because you are not prevented from working those hours due to a COVID-19 qualifying reason (see Question #1), even if your reduction in hours was somehow related to COVID-19.

You may, however, take paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave if a COVID-19 qualifying reason prevents you from working your full schedule. If you do, the amount of leave to which you are entitled is computed based on your work schedule before it was reduced.

23. May I collect unemployment insurance benefits for time in which I receive pay for paid sick leave and/or expanded family and medical leave?

No. If your employer provides you paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave, you are not eligible for unemployment insurance. However, some individuals may be eligible under the newly enacted legislation.

24. If I elect to take paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave, must my employer continue my health coverage? If I remain on leave beyond the maximum period of expanded family and medical leave, do I have a right to keep my health coverage?

If your employer provides group health coverage that you’ve elected, you are entitled to continued group health coverage during your expanded family and medical leave on the same terms as if you continued to work. If you are enrolled in family coverage, your employer must maintain coverage during your expanded family and medical leave. You generally must continue to make any normal contributions to the cost of your health coverage. 

If you do not return to work at the end of your expanded family and medical leave, check with your employer to determine whether you are eligible to keep your health coverage on the same terms (including contribution rates). If you are no longer eligible, you may be able to continue your coverage under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA). COBRA, which generally applies to employers with 20 or more employees, allows you and your family to continue the same group health coverage at group rates. Your share of that cost may be higher than what you were paying before but may be lower than what you would pay for private individual health insurance coverage. (If your employer has fewer than 20 employees, you may be eligible to continue your health insurance under State laws similar to COBRA. These laws are sometimes referred to as “mini COBRA.”

If you elect to take paid sick leave, your employer must continue your health coverage. Under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), an employer cannot establish a rule for eligibility or set any individual’s premium or contribution rate based on whether an individual is actively at work (including whether an individual is continuously employed), unless absence from work due to any health factor (such as being absent from work on sick leave) is treated, for purposes of the plan or health insurance coverage, as being actively at work.

25. As an employee, may I use my employer’s preexisting leave entitlements and my FFCRA paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave concurrently for the same hours?

During the first two weeks of unpaid expanded family and medical leave, you may not simultaneously take paid sick leave under the EPSLA and preexisting paid leave, unless your employer agrees to allow you to supplement the amount you receive from paid sick leave with your preexisting paid leave, up to your normal earnings.

After the first two workweeks (usually 10 workdays) of expanded family and medical leave under the EFMLEA, however, you may elect—or be required by your employer—to take your remaining expanded family and medical leave at the same time as any existing paid leave that, under your employer’s policies, would be available to you in that circumstance. This would likely include personal leave or paid time off, but not medical or sick leave if you are not ill.

If you are required to take your existing leave concurrently with your remaining expanded family and medical leave, your employer must pay you the full amount to which you are entitled under your existing paid leave policy for the period of leave taken. If you exhaust your preexisting paid leave and still are entitled to additional expanded family and medical leave, your employer must pay you at least 2/3 of your pay for subsequent periods of expanded family and medical leave taken, up to $200 per workday and $10,000 in the aggregate, for expanded family and medical leave.

26. Do I qualify for leave for a COVID-19 related reason even if I have already used some or all of my leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)?

If you are an eligible employee, you are entitled to paid sick leave under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act regardless of how much leave you have taken under the FMLA. However, if your employer was covered by the FMLA prior to April 1, 2020, your eligibility for expanded family and medical leave depends on how much leave you have already taken during the 12-month period that your employer uses for FMLA leave.

You may take a total of 12 workweeks for FMLA or expanded family and medical leave reasons during a 12-month period. If you have taken some, but not all, 12 workweeks of your leave under FMLA during the current 12-month period determined by your employer, you may take the remaining portion of leave available. If you have already taken 12 workweeks of FMLA leave during this 12-month period, you may not take additional expanded family and medical leave. 

For example, assume you are eligible for preexisting FMLA leave and took two weeks of such leave in January 2020 to undergo and recover from a surgical procedure. You therefore have 10 weeks of FMLA leave remaining. Because expanded family and medical leave is a type of FMLA leave, you would be entitled to take up to 10 weeks of expanded family and medical leave, rather than 12 weeks. Any expanded family and medical leave you take would count against your entitlement to preexisting FMLA leave.

If your employer only becomes covered under the FMLA on or after April 1, 2020, this analysis does not apply.

27. May I take leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act over the next 12 months if I used some or all of my expanded family and medical leave under the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act?

It depends. You may take a total of 12 workweeks of leave during a 12-month period under the FMLA, including the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act. If you take some, but not all 12, workweeks of your expanded family and medical leave by December 31, 2020, you may take the remaining portion of FMLA leave for a serious medical condition, as long as the total time taken does not exceed 12 workweeks in the 12-month period. Please note that expanded family and medical leave is available only until December 31, 2020; after that, you may only take FMLA leave.

For example, assume you take four weeks of Expanded Family and Medical Leave in April 2020 to care for your child whose school is closed due to a COVID-19 related reason. These four weeks count against your entitlement to 12 weeks of FMLA leave in a 12-month period. If you are eligible for preexisting FMLA leave and need to take such leave in August 2020 because you need surgery, you would be entitled to take up to eight weeks of FMLA leave. 

However, you are entitled to paid sick leave under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act regardless of how much leave you have taken under the FMLA. Paid sick leave is not a form of FMLA leave and therefore does not count toward the 12 workweeks in the 12-month period cap. But please note that if you take paid sick leave concurrently with the first two weeks of expanded family and medical leave, which may otherwise be unpaid, then those two weeks do count towards the 12 workweeks in the 12-month period.

28. If I take paid sick leave under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act, does that count against other types of paid sick leave to which I am entitled under State or local law, or my employer’s policy?

No. Paid sick leave under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act is in addition to:

  • other leave provided under Federal, State, or local law;
  • an applicable collective bargaining agreement; or
  • your employer’s existing company policy.
29. May I use paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave together for any COVID-19 related reasons?

No. The Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act applies only when you are on leave to care for your child whose school or place of care is closed, or whose child care provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19 related reasons. However, you can take paid sick leave under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act for numerous other reasons.

30. How are “full-time” and “part-time” employee defined under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act?

For purposes of the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act, a full-time employee is an employee who is normally scheduled to work 40 or more hours per week, and a part-time employee is an employee who is normally scheduled to work fewer than 40 hours per week. 

In contrast, the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act does not distinguish between full- and part-time employees, but the number of hours an employee normally works each week will affect the total pay the employee is eligible to receive.

31. Regarding the FMLA definition of “employer,” how does the “for each working day during each of the 20 or more calendar workweeks in the current or preceding calendar” language in work under the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act?

The language about counting employees over calendar workweeks is only in the FMLA’s definition for employer. This language does not apply to the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act for purposes of expanded family and medical leave. Employers should use the number of employees on the day the employee’s leave would start to determine whether the employer has fewer than 500 employees for purposes of providing expanded family and medical leave and paid sick leave. See Question 2 for more information.

32. I’ve elected to take paid sick leave and I am currently in a waiting period for my employer’s health coverage. If I am absent from work on paid sick leave during the waiting period, will my health coverage still take effect after I complete the waiting period on the same day that the coverage would otherwise take effect?

Yes. If you are on employer-provided group health coverage, you are entitled to group health coverage during your paid sick leave on the same terms as if you continued to work. Therefore, the requirements for eligibility, including any requirement to complete a waiting period, would apply in the same way as if you continued to work, including that the days you are on paid sick leave count towards completion of the waiting period. If, under the terms of the plan, an individual can elect coverage that becomes effective after completing the waiting period, the health coverage must take effect once the waiting period is complete.

33. I am a public sector employee. May I take paid sick leave under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act?

Generally, yes. You are entitled to paid sick leave if you work for a public agency or other unit of government, with the exceptions below. Therefore, you are probably entitled to paid sick leave if, for example, you work for the government of the United States, a State, the District of Columbia, a Territory or possession of the United States, a city, a municipality, a township, a county, a parish, or a similar government entity subject to the exceptions below.

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has the authority to exclude some categories of U.S. Government Executive Branch employees from taking certain kinds of paid sick leave. If you are a Federal employee, the Department encourages you to seek guidance from your respective employers as to your eligibility to take paid sick leave.

Further, health care providers and emergency responders may be excluded by their employer from being able to take paid sick leave under the Act. These coverage limits also apply to public-sector health care providers and emergency responders.

34. I am a public sector employee. May I take paid family and medical leave under the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act?

It depends. In general, you are entitled to expanded family and medical leave if you are an employee of a non-federal public agency. Therefore, you are probably entitled to paid sick leave if, for example, you work for the government of a State, the District of Columbia, a Territory or possession of the United States, a city, a municipality, a township, a county, a parish, or a similar entity. 

If you are a Federal employee, you likely are not entitled to expanded family and medical leave. The Act only amended Title I of the FMLA; most Federal employees are covered instead by Title II of the FMLA. As a result, only some Federal employees are covered, and the vast majority are not.

In addition, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has the authority to exclude some categories of U.S. Government Executive Branch employees with respect to expanded and family medical leave. If you are a Federal employee, the Department encourages you to seek guidance from your respective employers as to your eligibility to take expanded family and medical leave.

Further, health care providers and emergency responders may be excluded by their employer from being able to take expanded family and medical leave under the Act. These coverage limits also apply to public-sector health care providers and emergency responders.

35. What do I do if my public sector employer, who I believe to be covered, refuses to provide me paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave?

If you believe that your public sector employer is covered and is improperly refusing you paid sick leave under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act or expanded family and medical leave under the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act, the Department encourages you to raise your concerns with your employer in an attempt to resolve them.

Regardless whether you discuss your concerns with your employer, you may call WHD at 1-866-4US-WAGE (1-866-487-9243) to discuss improper paid sick leave with a federal labor representative or visit the Wage & Hour division website. Your call will be directed to the nearest WHD office for assistance to have your questions answered or to file a complaint.

Summary

We look forward to assisting you navigate this difficult and developing situation as it evolves. First and foremost, we hope you and your loved ones are staying healthy and safe during this crisis. Please contact our attorneys if you have any questions or need more information.