Please note: As of January 20, 2021, information in some news releases may be out of date or not reflect current policies.

News Release

Houston Childcare Provider Pays Back Wages to Employee Wrongly Denied Paid Sick Leave and Terminated Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

HOUSTON, TX – The Childhood Center – a childcare provider based in Houston, Texas – has paid $864 in back wages after wrongly denying leave to a worker with coronavirus symptoms who was ordered to self-quarantine for two weeks by a medical professional. The employer also wrongly terminated the employee.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) found The Childhood Center violated the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) when it denied the leave and later terminated the worker. The employee had experienced symptoms related to coronavirus exposure, took leave to seek a medical diagnosis and then followed orders to self-quarantine for two weeks.

After investigators contacted The Childhood Center, the employer agreed to pay the owed back wages, reinstate the employee and comply with the FFCRA’s requirements in the future.

“The U.S. Department of Labor is committed to protecting the American workforce during the coronavirus pandemic and ensuring that employers understand their responsibilities under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Robin Mallett in Houston, Texas. “Employers and employees are encouraged to call us for assistance to learn about the law’s requirements and protections, and to use our online educational 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 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.

Learn more about the laws enforced by WHD, or call 866-4US-WAGE.

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.

Wage and Hour Division
November 6, 2020
Release Number
Media Contact: Chauntra Rideaux
Media Contact: Juan Rodriguez
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