This piece by Jacob Wade first appeared on IHeartBudgets.com (up to date as of 3/18/20) and is reprinted with permission from the author. It has been edited for content and clarity. The original author may be compensated if you purchase products or services via links in this post, at no additional cost to the buyer.
Businesses are closed. Schools are closed. States are issuing stay-inside recommendations and extended closures daily due to the pandemic. Staying home if you are unwell is a priority, but many people do not have access to paid sick leave, or their company policies are woefully inadequate to deal with the current state of emergency we are in. To help you navigate your options, use this resource to keep you updated an informed regarding paid sick leave during the pandemic.
Companies with updated sick leave policies
Some companies are adjusting their paid sick leave policies in light of the recent health crisis.
Gig economy jobs
·Instacart – offering 14 days paid leave to those diagnosed with COVID-19 or quarantined (until April 8th)
·Doordash – Offering two weeks of paid leave to those diagnosed with COVID-19 or quarantined
·Postmates – put together a Postmates Fleet Relief Fund, and offering to those diagnosed or quarantined (amount not specified)
·Uber – offering 14 days paid leave to those diagnosed with COVID-19 or quarantined
·Lyft – offering up to two weeks of paid leave (based on previous 4 weeks of work) to those diagnosed with COVID-19 or quarantined
Popular chains stores & restaurants
·Walmart – offering two weeks’ paid leave to those diagnosed with COVID-19 or quarantined
·Kroger – offering two weeks’ paid leave to those diagnosed with COVID-19 or quarantined
·Starbucks – offering additional 2 weeks’ paid leave to those diagnosed with COVID-19 or quarantined
·Whole Foods – offering additional 2 weeks’ paid leave to those diagnosed with COVID-19 or quarantined
·Trader Joe’s – offering a reimbursement to those diagnosed with COVID-19 or quarantined
·Microsoft – will continue to pay hourly workers full wages even with reduced work hours
·Apple – unlimited sick pay for hourly workers
·Google – established a sick pay fund for contractors and hourly workers to continue regular pay rate
·Amazon – created a relief fund for contractors and hourly workers and will give a $2/hr raise for hours worked thru April
·Twitter – will continue to pay hourly workers full wages even with reduced work hours
·Facebook – will continue to pay hourly workers AND give $1,000 bonus to every worker
·There are many more, please contact your HR department to understand your paid sick leave benefits.
For workers without sick leave policies
If you are work for a company with fewer than 500 employees, and are diagnosed with COVID-19, quarantined, or cannot work due to school closures, you may qualify for sick pay.
• Most qualified workers can get up to 2-weeks of sick pay at their normal pay rate ($511/day max)
• If you have kids with school closures and you are unable to work, you can get an additional 10-weeks of sick pay at a 66% pay rate ($200/day max)
If you work for a small business that does not offer paid sick leave, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act is an emergency bill created to help those who are not able to work due to the COVID-19 virus. It directly affects those who work for companies with under 500 employees. Here’s a breakdown of the 2 main parts of the bill, and how they may affect you.
Summary: Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act
·If you work for a company with less than 500 employees, you may be eligible for 2-weeks of sick pay if you are affected by COVID19 (sick or quarantined).
·If you must care for a family member, or take time off due to school closures, you can also get 2-weeks of pay (at a 2/3 pay rate)
·This includes part-time employees
Employers (with less than 500 employees) will be required to pay for two weeks of paid sick leave at the employees’ original pay rate (Update 3/17/20: now capped at $511/day). This includes part-time employees (based on average hours worked).
If you have to take time off to take care of family members who contract coronavirus or take time off due to closure of a childcare facility, you can receive two weeks of sick pay at a 66% wage rate (Update 3/17/20: now capped at $200/day). Note: This applies to employees who were working for the company for the 30 days prior to being impacted, and small businesses with fewer than 50 employees may opt out of these benefits if it is determined they will “jeopardize the viability of the business.”
There is also a tax credit available to self-employed workers who work for an employer (such as Uber/Lyft or Instacart). They can get the same two weeks of average pay at their regular rate, but instead of a paycheck, they would receive a refundable tax credit instead.
Summary: Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act
·If you work for a company with fewer than 500 employees, you may be eligible for 10 additional weeks of sick pay if you have to take time off due to school closures (at a 66% pay rate, max $200/day). Remember, this is not the typical full paycheck amount, so adjust your budget accordingly.
·This includes part-time employees.
The EFMLEA is an expansion of the FMLA, which protects employees from losing their job when needing to take extended time off for medical reasons (up to 12 weeks). The original FMLA policies allow for 12 weeks of unpaid time off. The added provisions in the EFMLEA does give paid time off. These benefits kick in after 2 weeks off (first 2 weeks covered by EPSLA above), but the remainder of the 10 weeks will allow for PAID TIME OFF at 66% of your original pay. The FMLA currently allows 12 weeks off work without pay and no risk be of being fired. With the new bill, these would now to include 66% pay benefit as well, capped at $200/day.
The first 2 weeks are covered under the EPSLA, but the next 10 weeks are covered under this new provision. This new provision only applies to families where children’s schools are closed, not for those caring for others who are affected by the virus.
The paid sick leave provisions in this bill are available until December 31, 2020. Employers are given a quarterly 100% tax credit to pay for this, and the U.S. Treasury announced plans to expedite this funding through the IRS. (Note: Employer credit is capped at $511 per day for sick/quarantined employees, and $200 per day for family-related absence.) If you are unsure whether you will qualify for sick pay, please contact your HR department to find out.
How long until I get paid?
The bill was signed into law on Wednesday, 3/18/20. Small businesses will need to comply as quickly as possible. There are no current required timelines on how quickly companies will need to send out checks to employees. To mitigate income disruption, you may also need to consider applying for your State Unemployment Benefits, as this same bill gives states the ability to assist quickly as well.
If you've been financially impacted by the Coronavirus crisis, click here to take advantage of our free interactive tool. The questionnaire will help you determine if you qualify for assistance to maintain financial stability in this time. If you qualify, you will also have access to a free financial plan from SAVVI. Your SAVVI plan will take into account the effects of the current crisis, while helping you achieve your long-term goals.
External links are for general information only; SAVVI does not receive compensation for visits to those links, and neither condones nor takes responsibility for the content of sites behind those links. SAVVI Financial LLC (‘SAVVI’) is an investment advisor registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission. SAVVI does not guarantee investment results and past performance is no guarantee of future results. Information provided is for educational purposes and does not constitute investment advice, which is only provided to registered users who have a valid Investment Agreement in place with SAVVI. No information on this presentation should be construed as an offer to buy or sell any security or insurance product. SAVVI is not a certified accountant, lawyer, tax professional or HR professional. Nothing in this document may be considered as tax, accounting, employment or legal advice. Please consult with your accounting, tax, human resources or legal professionals before taking any action.