Update Your Employee Leave Policy

October 26, 2020  

Most businesses have regulations about employee leave. In the wake of the global COVID-19 pandemic, many organizations are finding they need to update their employee leave policies. Employees and leaders alike want to know whether they can take leave if they fear getting the virus and what kind of leave is possible for those who are ill or have been exposed.

What Kind of Leave Is Typically Allowed for COVID-19?

The Family and Medical Leave Act, The Department of Labor, The Fair Labor Standards Act and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act all have guidelines for leaders considering their leave policies. In general, employees can get two weeks of paid leave, up to 80 hours, to care for a minor child whose childcare or school is not available because of the risk of COVID-19. Eligible employees who have been working at least one month may qualify for an additional ten weeks to care for a child.

Employees can also take two weeks of sick leave at full pay if they need to care for someone who is under quarantine. Compensation for this leave is typically at two-thirds the regular rate of pay. The same guidelines also allow employees two weeks, or up to 80 hours, of sick leave in case they are quarantined. This leave is at the full regular rate of pay.

In cases where an employer offers health benefits, these continue while the employee is on leave due to COVID-19.

What Companies Are Doing With Employee Sick Leave Policies

Some companies are offering additional policies to allow workers to work from home if they are able to, though telework is not a requirement. One challenge with COVID-19 is that workers who have the symptoms may feel they need to keep coming in to earn their wages.

In response to this concern, Walmart announced it would not penalize workers with symptoms for staying home and would offer the government-suggested two weeks of leave. Workers who have COVID-19 can get up to 26 weeks of leave.

McDonald’s has referred employees to sick days and has encouraged workers to stay home if they feel unwell. They also provide two weeks of quarantine time for team members if they need it. Apple has announced unlimited leave time for workers with symptoms. Other companies have been looking at the leave policies of larger corporations as they update their own policies.

When deciding what to offer for sick leave, organizations need to stay up-to-date with new government recommendations. At the same time, they need to consider the risks and potential liability if employees arrive at work unwell. Many organizations are also wondering about turnover rates and what they can afford to offer.

Do You Need Support With Your Updated Employee Sick Leave Policy?

Your updated employee leave policy will affect many parts of your business, including payroll. If you’re looking for customized payroll services in Central Pennsylvania or Western Maryland, BCM Payroll Services, Inc. can help. Contact us today to find out how partnering with us can keep you compliant and save you time to focus on growing your organization.


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