News Release

Wireless Service Provider Pays Back Wages to Employee Denied Paid Sick Leave After Doctor Ordered Coronavirus-Related Self-Quarantine

HOUSTON, TX – After an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD), Rockonwireless Inc. – doing business as Metro T-Mobile in Houston, Texas – will pay $900 in back wages after failing to provide an employee with coronavirus symptoms paid sick leave after their doctor ordered them to self-quarantine for two weeks, in violation of the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act, part of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).

Investigators determined the employee’s request qualified for FFCRA paid sick leave and contacted the employer. Rockonwireless Inc. cooperated fully once it understood its responsibility under the new law and agreed to pay the employee’s full wages for the days quarantined. The employer also agreed to future compliance with the FFCRA, which took effect April 1, 2020.

“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 District Director Robin Mallett in Houston, Texas. “The U.S. Department of Labor continues to provide updated information through our online educational tools 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 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.

View a webinar for employers on their FFCRA responsibilities.

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

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 22, 2020
Release Number
20-1336-DAL
Contact: Chauntra Rideaux
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