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News Release

Pennsylvania Machine Shop to Pay Back Wages After Denying Employee Paid Sick Leave Request During Coronavirus Pandemic

GREENCASTLE, PA – A compliance action by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) has led Mitchell Machine Shop – based in Greencastle, Pennsylvania – to grant paid sick leave and pay back wages to an employee who requested leave to provide child care due to a coronavirus-related school closing. The agency determined that the employee was entitled to receive paid leave at two-thirds their regular rate of pay for up to 12 weeks under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).

WHD found that Mitchell Machine Shop failed to comply with its obligation to provide paid leave under the new law, which went into effect on April 1, 2020. As a result, the employer will pay $746.67 in back wages and agreed to comply with the FFCRA in the future.

“This case demonstrates the U.S. Department of Labor’s commitment to protect employee rights during the coronavirus pandemic,” said Wage and Hour District Director Alfonso Gristina, in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. “Employers and employees are encouraged to call us for assistance to improve their understanding of new requirements under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, as well as use our educational online tools to avoid violations like those found in this investigation.”

The FFCRA helps the U.S. combat and defeat the workplace effects of the coronavirus by giving tax credits to all 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 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 agency also 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.

WHD’s mission is to promote and achieve compliance with labor standards to protect and enhance the welfare of the nation’s workforce. WHD enforces federal minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping and child labor requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act. WHD also enforces the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act, the Employee Polygraph Protection Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, wage garnishment provisions of the Consumer Credit Protection Act and a number of employment standards and worker protections as provided in several immigration related statutes. Additionally, WHD administers and enforces the prevailing wage requirements of the Davis-Bacon Act and the Service Contract Act, and other statutes applicable to federal contracts for construction and for the provision of goods and services.

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
July 7, 2020
Release Number
20-978-PHI
Contact: Leni Fortson
Contact: Joanna Hawkins
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