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Wage and Hour Watch: DOL Cites Florida Company for Violating Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act


On October 5th, 2020, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued a news release confirming that  Garden Escapes LLC—a landscaping company based in Panama City, Florida—has agreed to pay back wages to an employee who was wrongly denied paid leave after self-quarantining for a COVID-19 diagnosis.

In its press statement, the DOL notes that the Florida company improperly denied the worker paid sick leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). In this article, our Miami employment law attorneys explain the key things employers and employees should know about the  paid sick leave provisions of the FFCRA.

Three Things to Know About the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) 

  1. Many Employers are Required to Provide Temporary Paid Sick Leave

The Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) is a provision included within the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). It was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Trump in the spring of 2020. Under the law, some employers are required to provide temporary COVID-19-related sick leave benefits to workers. The law applies to companies and organizations with fewer than 500 employees. To help support employers covered by the law, the FFCRA provides tax creditors to affected companies. 

  1. Paid Sick Leave Benefits are Set to Expire on December 31st, 2020

The Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) is temporary legislation. As it currently exists, the law covers the period between April 2nd, 2020 and December 31st, 2020. Unless additional changes are made or the regulations are extended, the law is going to expire at the end of 2020. Employers and employees should keep an eye out for any developments. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, some legislators are pushing to extend the law. 

  1. 80 hours of Paid Sick Leave for COVID-19-Related Reasons

Under the EPSLA, eligible employees are granted up to 80 hours in paid sick leave benefits for COVID-19-related reasons. As explained by the DOL, there are three core reasons why employers should grant workers paid sick leave under the federal law:

  • The employee has COVID-19 symptoms and is actively seeking medical attention;
  • The employee has been ordered to self-quarantine by the government or advised to self-quarantine by a doctor due to COVID-19 exposure; and
  • The employee must provide child care due to a COVID-19-related school/child care provider closure.

If you have any specific questions or concerns about your rights or responsibilities under the FFCRA, contact an experienced Florida employment law attorney for legal guidance.

Call Our Florida Wage and Hour Attorneys for Immediate Help

At Pike & Lustig, LLP, our Florida employment lawyers have the skills and experience to represent clients in all types of wage and hour lawsuits. If you have questions about emergency sick leave regulations, we are available to help. Call our firm now for a confidential initial consultation. With an office in Miami and an office in West Palm Beach, we handle wage and hour claims throughout South Florida.




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