CORRECTED: Montana Company Pays Back Wages to Employee Wrongly Denied Paid Sick Leave After Doctor Ordered Coronavirus-Related Quarantine
PLENTYWOOD, MT – The operator of a Plentywood, Montana, facility for people with disabilities has paid $1,600 in back wages to an employee after the employer wrongly denied emergency paid sick leave despite the employee being advised by her healthcare provider to quarantine due to concerns related to the coronavirus, a violation of provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The employer then wrongly terminated the employee.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) found Glen-Wood Inc., which operates the facility, denied the employee’s right to paid sick leave under the FFCRA. After WHD contacted the employer and explained the law’s requirements, Glen-Wood reinstated the employee, paid the back wages and restored 88 hours of vacation benefits the worker should not have had to use. The employer agreed to future compliance with the FFCRA, which took effect April 1, 2020.
“Employers must be aware of their responsibilities under this new law, and avoid any form of retaliation against workers who exercise their right to paid sick leave for qualifying reasons related to COVID-19,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Kevin Hunt in Salt Lake City, Utah. “We encourage anyone with questions about their rights or responsibilities to contact us directly for answers, and continue 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 this new law provides.”
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 the coronavirus. 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.
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.
Editor’s Note: The headline and dateline have been changed to reflect the company is in Plentywood, Montana, and not Salt Lake City, Utah.