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News Release

Contractor Reinstates, Pays Back Wages to Employee After U.S. Department of Labor Finds Violation of Families First Coronavirus Response Act

WHITE PLAINS, MD – A Maryland electrical contractor has reinstated an employee after an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) found the employer denied paid sick leave under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).

The agency determined that RMS Electrical Services in White Plains, Maryland, violated the FFCRA when it denied an employee’s request for paid leave to care for a child when the coronavirus pandemic closed their school. Instead, the company terminated the employee. After contact by the WHD, the contractor reinstated the employee, provided paid leave and agreed to comply with the law in the future.

“The U.S. Department of Labor is fully committed to educating both workers and employers to ensure they have the information they need about the benefits and protections of this new law,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Nicholas Fiorello in Baltimore, Maryland. “The Families First Coronavirus Response Act exists so that employees are not forced to choose between their own, or their family’s health and welfare, and their jobs during the current pandemic.”

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.

EPSLA allows employees to take leave when caring for sons or daughters whose school or place of care is closed or whose child care provider is unavailable for reasons related to the coronavirus.

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
June 8, 2020
Release Number
20-1150-PHI
Contact: Leni Fortson
Contact: Joanna Hawkins
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