When Paid Leave Isn’t Required, What’s the Best Course?
What happens on January 1, after the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act sunsets and all the paid leave entitlements disappear (if Congress doesn’t act soon)? Did Congress think that the virus would be well under control and that these leaves wouldn’t be needed by now? Very disappointing. As an employment lawyer, I’m going to recommend to my clients that, at a minimum, they maintain flexibility for working parents and permit unpaid leaves to care for children who have no care or whose schools are closed. Employers must also allow leave for employees who have COVID symptoms or have been in close contact with a person diagnosed or strongly suspected of having COVID. If the company can’t afford to pay all of its employees, I’d still strongly recommend providing unpaid job-protected leave. First, safety is key; a sick employee will come to work if they can’t afford a missed paycheck or think they might lose their job if they don’t show. This leads to sick employees, clients, and customers. Second, this will pass, and employers will be rewarded with more loyal employees after the pandemic ends. Also, remember that the state or city in which the company operates may pass its own leave laws. The employer must be cognizant of these.
Contact me to discuss the laws applicable to your business, which may include the laws of states in which your employees live and telework.
ABOUT KATHERINE WITHERSPOON FRY
For over 25 years, Katherine has provided her clients with robust representation in matters of employment and related business law. Katherine represents and counsels employers and executives in all facets of the employment relationship, including hiring, termination, discrimination, non-competition, Fair Labor Standards Act matters, issues regarding Family and Medical Leave and other leaves, whistleblowers’ complaints, and regulatory matters. As a litigator, she is well aware of the nuances of law necessary to draft effective restrictive covenants, severance agreements, and employment contracts. Along with her over 250 colleagues, she represents companies and non-profit organizations of all sizes. She has defended companies under investigation by both U.S. and state Departments of Labor and handled multiple matters before the EEOC.
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