News Release

County of Carver, Minnesota Pays Employee Back Wages After Wrongly Denying Paid Leave Due to Coronavirus-Related Daycare Closure

COUNTY OF CARVER, MN After an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD), the County of Carver, Minnesota, has paid an employee $1,136 in back wages for wrongly denying the worker’s request for paid leave to care for her child when her daycare center closed amid the coronavirus pandemic, a violation of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The denial of leave forced the employee to resign.

Investigators found the County of Carver’s Child and Family Department violated the Emergency Family Medical Leave Expansion Act provisions of the FFCRA when it denied the employee paid time away from work to care for her child. Additionally, the county wrongly concluded the employee should be required to choose available emergency daycares when her regular childcare provider was unavailable. No such requirement exists under FFCRA. In addition to paying back wages, the county offered to reinstate the employee to her position, but the employee declined.

“Both public and private sector employers must take all the steps necessary to comply with the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, and provide employees paid leave to care for their children as required,” said Wage and Hour Assistant District Director Jenna Carte, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. “With thousands of parents returning to work while some daycares remain closed, employers should review their obligations under this new law to avoid similar violations.”

WHD encourages employers and employees to call the division directly for assistance to better understand the requirements under the FFCRA and use its educational online tools to avoid violations.WHD offers 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 to provide employees with paid leave for certain reasons related to COVID-19. Please visit WHD’s “Quick Benefits Tips” for information about how much leave workers may qualify to use, and the amounts employers must pay. The law enables employers to provide paid leave reimbursed by tax credits, 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.

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.

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Agency
Wage and Hour Division
Date
July 16, 2020
Release Number
20-1304-CHI
Contact: Scott Allen
Phone Number
Contact: Rhonda Burke
Phone Number
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