News Release

Minnesota City Pays Back Wages to Employee Wrongly Denied Paid Sick Leave After Healthcare Provider Recommends Quarantine

NORTH BRANCH, MN An investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) has led the City of North Branch, Minnesota, to pay $1,696 in back wages to an employee denied paid sick leave after her healthcare provider recommended a 14-day quarantine for reasons related to coronavirus.

WHD investigators found the municipality violated the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) when it denied the employee leave. The employee also requested time off under the Emergency Family Medical Leave Extension Act when her child’s care provider became unavailable due to coronavirus-related reasons. When advised of its obligations under the FFCRA, the city agreed to pay the back wages.

“Both public and private sector employers must take all necessary steps to comply with the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and provide employees paid sick leave to care for themselves and family members when required,” said Wage and Hour Division Assistant District Director Kristin Tout, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. “The U.S. Department of Labor is working to protect employee rights and educate employers during the coronavirus pandemic. We encourage employers and employees to call us for assistance to improve their understanding of the new requirements under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and use our educational online tools to avoid violations like those found in this case.”

WHD continues to provide updated information on its website and through extensive outreach efforts to ensure that workers and employers have the information they need about the benefits and protections of this new law.

The FFCRA helps the U.S. combat and defeat the workplace effects of the coronavirus by giving tax credits to American businesses with fewer than 500 employees either to provide employees with paid leave for the employee’s own health needs or to care for family members. Please visit WHD’s “Quick Benefits Tips” for information about how much leave workers may qualify to use, and the wages employers must pay. The law enables employers to keep their workers on their payrolls, while at the same time ensuring that workers are not forced to choose between their paychecks and the public health measures needed to combat the virus.

 WHD provides additional information on common issues employers and employees face when responding to the coronavirus and its effects on wages and hours worked under the Fair Labor Standards Act and on job-protected leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act at https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic

For more information about the laws enforced by WHD, call 866-4US-WAGE, or visit www.dol.gov/agencies/whd.

For further information about the coronavirus, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.

Agency
Wage and Hour Division
Date
May 29, 2020
Release Number
20-1113-CHI
Contact: Scott Allen
Phone Number
Contact: Rhonda Burke
Phone Number
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