El Paso Independent School District Pays Back Wages to Employee Wrongly Denied Paid Sick Leave After Healthcare Provider Ordered Self-Quarantine
EL PASO, TX – El Paso Independent School District has paid $2,139 in back wages to an employee after the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) determined the employer wrongly denied emergency paid sick leave to an employee whose healthcare providers ordered them to self-quarantine for two weeks for reasons related to the coronavirus.
WHD found the school district violated the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The FFCRA allows employees to take leave when a healthcare provider advises the employee to self-quarantine or while experiencing coronavirus symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis.
El Paso Independent School District cooperated fully when contacted by WHD, and once it understood its responsibility under the new law, agreed to pay the employee’s full wages for the days the employee was unable to work. The employer agreed to future compliance with the FFCRA, which took effect on April 1, 2020.
“Employers must be fully aware of how to comply with the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and provide employees paid sick leave to care for themselves and family members when required. We appreciate the employer’s cooperation in this case,” said Wage and Hour District Director Evelyn Sanchez in Albuquerque, New Mexico. “The U.S. Department of Labor continues to protect employees and educate employers during the coronavirus pandemic. We encourage employers and employees to contact us for assistance to improve their understanding of new requirements under the FFCRA, and to use our educational online tools to avoid violations like those found in this case.”
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 reimburse the costs of providing employees with paid leave for certain reasons related to the coronavirus. 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 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.
The department offers an online webinar to inform employers of their responsibility under the FFCRA at https://dolwhd.cosocloud.com/pm4jvdnb4sch/.
The mission of WHD 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.