Even during these uncertain times, Moore & Associates continues to provide the same level of service that our clients and prospective clients deserve. Our top priority is to serve our clients and the community.
Moore & Associates continues to work on current cases, visit with prospective clients and take on new cases. If you or a family member needs to speak with one of our attorneys about any type of employment situation, call us at 713-222-6775 or click on the link below to provide us information about your situation and how we can contact you.
If your employer is not allowing you to take advantage of the new laws put in place as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic; is discriminating against you; or not paying you properly contact Moore & Associates. Our job is to protect you in the workplace.
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act significantly expands paid sick leave and family medical leave. Eligible employees who work for eligible employers may be able to take up to two weeks paid sick leave at their regular rate of pay if the employee is seeking medical treatment for Covid-19 or if the employee has been quarantined. Eligible employees may also be able to take two weeks paid sick leave at two-thirds their regular rate of pay to care for a sick family member or child. Under the act, eligible employees who work for eligible employers may also be able to receive up to 10 weeks paid leave at two-thirds their regular rate of pay to care for a child who cannot attend school because their school has been closed or child care providers are unavailable due to Covid-19, for a maximum of up to 12 weeks, including the other provisions of the act.
If you’ve been impacted by the coronavirus and have had to take time off work to heal, have had to take time off work to care for a sick family member or child, or have had to take time off work to provide childcare to a child who cannot attend school or day care because of closures, here are the provisions that the new act provides:
- Two weeks paid sick leave at your regular rate of pay (up to 80 hours) if you get sick with the coronavirus or need to self-quarantine
- Two weeks paid sick leave at two-thirds your regular rate of pay (up to 80 hours) if you need to care for an individual who is sick with the coronavirus.
- Up to ten weeks paid leave at two-thirds your rate of pay if you have had to stay home to care for a child whose school has been closed or whose day care has been closed due to the coronavirus. (Up to twelve weeks are available, because the employee may be able to stack the ten weeks’ pay with the additional two weeks provided above)
The law applies to employers with fewer than 500 workers and the paid expanded family medical leave only applies to workers who have been working for a company for at least 30 days. If a business has fewer than 50 employees, and meeting these requirements would result in the closure of the business, the employer may be exempt. Workers who plan to take paid sick leave must also properly inform their employer that they plan to take this leave.
When does an employee qualify for paid sick leave under the act? If you are unable to work from home or telecommute, you may qualify. Here are the conditions:
- You have been quarantined due to a local, state, or federal quarantine or isolation order due to Covid-19.
- Your health care provider has asked you to quarantine due to Covid-19.
- You are seeking medical treatment for Covid-19.
- You are caring for a person who meets the three criteria points above.
- Or, you are caring for a child whose school or child care provider has closed due to Covid-19.
Paid sick leave benefits are capped under the act. Under the act, if you are taking paid leave because you are sick, quarantined, or are seeking medical treatment, you are entitled to receive 80 hours of minimum wage pay, or pay at your regular rate of pay (whichever is higher), up to $511 per day, for a total of $5110. If you are taking paid leave to care for a sick family member, you are entitled to 2/3 your regular rate of pay, or 2/3 the minimum wage (whichever is higher), up to $200 per day, up to $2000 total. And if you are taking paid expanded medical leave, you can receive 2/3 pay at your regular rate of pay or the minimum wage (whichever is higher), up to $200 per day, or $12,000 over a 12-week period of leave for childcare.
How will employers be compensated for these costs? According to the IRS, employers who are normally required to deposit withheld federal taxes and Social Security and Medicare taxes may be able to retain the amount of money equal to the paid sick leave provided to employees. The taxes an employer may be able to retain includes “federal income taxes, the employee share of Social Security and Medicare taxes, and the employer share of Social Security and Medicare taxes.” Further guidance will be provided by the IRS soon and the IRS notes that if retaining these taxes isn’t sufficient to cover costs, employers may be able to request accelerated payments from the IRS to cover the cost of paid sick leave.
Moore & Associates is an employment law firm in Houston, Texas that is closely watching this situation. If you have questions about your rights as an employee or how this situation applies if you are an employer, our employment law firm is here to help. There are many exclusions, grace periods, and other provisions within the act. Our lawyers are watching the situation unfold and are here for you.