Emergency Paid Leave During COVID-19
In response to COVID-19, Congress recently approved an overwhelmingly bipartisan legislation that created new guidelines for paid sick and family leave. Below are some resources that outline these changes, and can answer some of the questions you may have about these new benefits.
What has changed
Oregon Regulations Prior to COVID-19
- All employees get sick time. If you have 10+ employees (or 6+ in Portland), that time must be paid.
- Accrual rate is 1 hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked.
- Employees can use sick time to care for themselves, family members, for visits to medical professionals. Sick time can also be used if your child's school is closed by order of a public official for a public health emergency, such as Governor Brown’s current closure of all K-12 schools.
- The Oregon Family Leave Act requires employers with 25+ employees to offer unpaid family leave.
- Oregonians can use Oregon Family Leave to take protected time off to care for their children during official school closures related to coronavirus. This leave is not paid unless employees use available paid time off they have, but it is protected.
New Federal Guidelines
- Businesses with fewer than 500 employees must pay up to 80 hours of emergency paid sick leave to full-time employees (pro-rata rules apply to part-time employees) who are home sick from coronavirus, complying with a quarantine, or taking care of an individual who has been infected. This leave also applies to working families who may be forced home due to school closures.
- The Federal government will provide employers with a refundable payroll tax credit of 100 percent of the required wages.
- Employees are capped at $200 per day ($511 per day in the case of employees that are home sick from coronavirus or complying with a quarantine).
- Businesses with fewer than 500 employees must provide an additional 12 weeks of paid leave due to caring for a child whose school is closed.
- The first 2 weeks of the leave, which is covered by the qualified sick leave described above, may be unpaid.
- During the remaining 10 weeks, the employer will pay 2/3 of the employee’s salary, capped at $200 per day for up to 50 days.
- The Federal government will provide businesses with a refundable payroll tax credit of 100 percent of the required wages.
- While we cannot provide official legal advice, we have been advised that while only employers of 50 or more employees are required to meet the federal guidelines on extended family medical leave and paid sick leave, ALL employers that choose to meet them are eligible for the tax credits for doing so.
- Nothing in the federal law precludes employers of less than 50 employees from meeting Oregon’s requirements for family medical leave and sick leave.
- Please be patient as we wait for additional agency guidance on how federal law will work with Oregon’s laws and reach out to us at any time with questions.