Employee Rights Regarding Protection During COVID-19
Written by Cooper & Friedman on July 16, 2020
The Covid-19 outbreak has instigated unprecedented difficulties for workplaces all over the world. Hundreds of companies have been forced to lay off workers and unemployment is at a record high. Many employees are trying to both provide for their families and stay safe. In response, governments have passed a number of new acts have to combat the situation and provide protections for employees. Follow along for important things you need to know about employee rights regarding Covid-19.
Employer Responsibilities to Keep Employees Safe during COVID-19
Employers must provide a safe environment for returning employees. This means employers must enforce social distancing guidelines of six feet and limited gatherings, encourage face masks, ensure there are hand-washing capabilities within the workplace, and make sure high-touch areas are properly sanitized. Workplaces should also be properly ventilated and hazard-free.
Although it is often the employee’s job to see these through day-to-day, employers must provide the resources to do so. Any workplace in violation of these measures can be reported to the Kentucky hotline: 1-833-597-2337 or Louisville Metro 311. Visit the state government or CDC websites for more specific information and updated guidelines, as well as necessary training information.
Important Legal Acts Impacting Employees During COVID-19
Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA) – This act provides up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for employees experiencing Covid-19 symptoms or for those caring for a family member who is experiencing symptoms. To qualify, the employee must have worked for one year. Additionally, the company must have over 50 employees within a 75-mile radius. Furthermore, employers must give employees continued health insurance and the same job position when they return.
Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)
This act provides paid emergency sick leave for qualified employees. Here are the different types of paid leave one can receive:
- Employees experiencing Covid-19 symptoms and actively seeking diagnosis or those who have been diagnosed and are in mandatory quarantine can receive up to two weeks (80 hours) of paid sick leave. These employees will receive their regular rate of pay during this time period.
- Employees who need to care for another individual in mandatory quarantine or a child who is unable to attend school/daycare are eligible to receive two-thirds of their regular pay rate for up to two weeks (80 hours). If the need to care for the child persists past the duration of two weeks, the employee can receive up to 10 additional weeks of paid leave at two-thirds pay rate.
Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)
- Recognizing your rights under the ADA is also important. Y ou may qualify for disability-related benefits if you have an existing condition that Covid-19 worsens. Additionally, if you believe that due to your disability, you were fired, paid less, or treated in any sort of discriminatory way, you are entitled to legal protection.
For additional information about employee rights in the State of Kentucky or Southern Indiana, contact the experienced team at Cooper and Friedman PLLC. Our team has been fighting for the rights of employees across Kentuckiana for over 30 years. Call 502-459-7555 for a free consultation with an experienced attorney.