KKTV recently had several experts in the studio to talk about common concerns among viewers. David McDivitt was invited to talk about the everchanging landscape of regulations and protections of employees during this unprecedented crisis.
Below are some of the questions and answers covered during David’s conversation with Dianne Derby on Friday, March 17, 2020. Things are changing rapidly, sometimes daily, so David will be back with updates soon, and we will keep you posted about what those are.
People are forced to be at work, is this legal is this right? What can people do?
The circumstances and regulations are constantly changing. Under the newly expanded Family Medical Leave Act, there are certain circumstances in which you are entitled to stay home. An employer cannot force you to come in for up to 12 weeks and your job would be safe during that time period. This new legislation is going to protect the parents who cannot go to work because they have children that are not in school.
The first two weeks of this leave is unpaid, to the discretion of the employer, however the remaining ten weeks the employee is entitled to a percentage of their pay. This pay does have a cap of $200 a day and $10,000 in the aggregate.
There will be circumstances where if you are a parent staying home you can use newly expanded sick time in order to get paid for those first two weeks. This sick time will also cover people in certain groups such as individuals who have contracted the coronavirus, people who are symptomatic and receiving care, and people living and caring for someone with the virus. Under this expanded sick time, you can be compensated for up to 80 hours.
What if I am healthy, do I need to go into work?
Your employer can mandate that you show up to work if you want to keep your job. In this situation, employees are still entitled to their regular benefits of accrued sick or vacation time which could be used. There can be protections for individuals who have conditions that are covered under Disability, and cannot go into work.
Employers are expected to follow CDC and OSHA guidelines to ensure a safe work environment. Following these guidelines are crucial to slow down contraction of this virus.