Oklahoma Restaurant Operator Pays Back Wages After Denying Paid Sick Leave To Employee Advised to Self-Quarantine By Medical Provider
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – After an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD), KNM Holdings LLC – operator of Church’s Chicken franchise locations in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Oklahoma – has paid $1,653 in back wages to an employee after the employer wrongly denied the employee’s request for paid sick leave to fulfill a healthcare provider’s order to self-quarantine for two weeks due to the coronavirus.
WHD investigators determined the employee’s request qualified for paid leave under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) and the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA) provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).
WHD also found KNM Holdings LLC failed to provide required paid leave after the employee reported their children’s school and childcare center were unavailable due to the coronavirus.
When contacted by WHD representatives, KNM Holdings LLC cooperated fully and, once it understood its responsibility, agreed to pay the employee’s required wages for the days quarantined and their use of the EFMLEA. The employer agreed to future compliance with the FFCRA, which took effect on April 1, 2020.
“Employers must familiarize themselves with this new law to ensure they comply, and provide their employees the flexibility the law allows in these trying times,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Michael Speer, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. “We encourage employers and workers to contact our office to learn more about their rights and responsibilities under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, or any other laws we enforce at the Wage and Hour Division. Anyone can call us confidentially and speak directly with a trained professional to have their questions answered.”
The Department encourages employers and employees to contact us for assistance to improve their understanding of new requirements under the FFCRA and 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 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 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 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. For more information about the laws enforced by WHD, call 866-4US-WAGE, or visit www.dol.gov/agencies/whd.
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.