If you require any employees to self-quarantine – either because they show coronavirus signs/symptoms or come into contact with someone who tested positive – you need to know how to pay those workers.
Start by determining if an employee is subject to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. This requires that employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide:
- Up to two weeks – 80 hours – of paid sick leave at the employee’s regular pay rate if someone can’t work due to a quarantine because the person has COVID symptoms or has been exposed to someone with the virus.
- Up to two weeks – 80 hours – of paid sick leave at two-thirds of the person’s regular pay rate because the person can’t work if he/she is caring for someone who is quarantined (such as a child or spouse). The employer may pay up to an additional 10 weeks of expanded family and medical leave at two-thirds of this person’s regular rate of pay.
These costs are to be repaid to the business through federal tax credits, although very small employers (those with fewer than 50 employees) may seek an exemption from these requirements.
Employees may attempt to take advantage of this situation, for example, by traveling to a COVID hotspot or visiting with quarantined or ill family/friends. Some legal experts suggest there isn’t much employers can do about this. However, it will help to have clear policies and procedures, including restrictions on business travel.