The COVID-19 crisis has created new challenges for employees dealing with paid leave, child care, telecommuting, healthcare, layoffs, and furloughs. Please use the FAQ below to get the answers you need. If you aren’t able to find an answer to your question, please contact your HR manager or your HR business partner.
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 place of care is closed, or childcare provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19 related reasons.
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 for you and one of the COVID-19 qualifying reasons 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.
Are the paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave requirements retroactive?
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 https://www.careeronestop.org/LocalHelp/service-locator.aspx.
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, each State has its own unique set of rules; and DOL recently clarified additional flexibility to the States (UIPL 20-10) to extend partial unemployment benefits to workers whose hours or pay have been reduced. Therefore, individuals should contact their State workforce agency or State unemployment insurance office for specific questions about eligibility. For additional information, please refer to https://www.careeronestop.org/LocalHelp/service-locator.aspx.
I’ve heard you talk about an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). What exactly is it? Where can it be accessed? Is there a cost involved?
National Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is resource for organizational health and performance management services that are beneficial to clients and employees alike. The program provides 24/7 support from EAP professional specialists in a variety of fields such as finance, child and elder care and legal who are trained to assist with confidential, effective solutions to assist employees with their concerns. Financial stress, grief and marital discord are just a few of the issues that employees are encouraged to reach out and discuss with these specialists in order to find support and solutions.
In the wake of COVID-19 and the stresses experienced from that alone EAP is hosting daily webinars of their own as well as virtual support groups on topics such as self-care, resiliency, trauma reactions and work organizational changes to name a few.
Prestige clients always have the option to sign-up and enroll for the EAP. During this COVID-19 pandemic, however there are some online services available to all our clients and their employees regardless of being enrolled.