Employee rights are in jeopardy during the COVID-19 pandemic. In this critical time of a combination of public health and economic crisis, many employers across the country have not been paying their workers for necessary time off demanded by law due to COVID-19 testing and quarantine needs.
Coronavirus Legislation That Protects Workers Rights
Faced with unprecedented times, Congress passed legislation in March 2020 that was signed into law by the president to protect American workers during the coronavirus pandemic. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) directs certain employers from small to medium-sized businessesto pay an employee’s full salary for two weeks if they become infected with COVID-19.
In addition, the FFCRA prohibits these employers from firing their workers who need to take leave for testing and necessary time off for quarantine until they can make it back to work.
Unfortunately, many employers – either through not having an understanding of the law or through direct defiance of the law – are not paying their employees appropriately and even firing them for taking time off needed due to being exposed, being sick, or needing to take care of their children.
Has your childcare provider closed because of the pandemic? The FFCRA also guaranteed working parents ten weeks off at two-thirds pay. The federal government offers qualified employers a tax credit to allow working parents the time off to take care of their children
It is important to understand the parameters of the FFCRA. Employees that are not covered under this specific legislation include those who work for an employer with more than 500 workers, businesses with less than 50 employees, and healthcare workers and first responders.
Employees Across Industries Not Getting Paid
Hundreds of businesses in multiple industries have been cited for not following the guidelines of the FFCRA. According to a report from the Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit, nonpartisan newsroom focusing on the influence of money and the impact of inequality on our society, the violations of this labor law amount to approximately $690,000 of unpaid wages to 527 employees. These are ones that have been reported, but there potentially could be much more. Of the known violators, they include high-profile employers such as:
- McDonald’s franchises
- Comfort Suites by Choice Hotels
- Courtyard by Marriott
- Red Roof Inn franchises
Additional violators of the federal paid leave law, the FFCRA, include Popeye’s, a Holiday Inn Express, California Farms, and the United States Postal Service.
These violations of labor law affect the well-being of families and cause financial harm, emotional and physical stress, and can have long term effects — particularly to those who have been fired from their job. This can have a huge impact on housing, health, and the ability of workers to feed their families.
Employment Law Attorneys Fight for the Rights of Workers
Unpaid wages, during “normal” times, negatively affect families in Florida and across the United States. During the global pandemic of COVID-19, it can be even more devastating — particularly if an employee is fired in violation of the law. The economy is tough right now. It is important to know that employees have rights not only under the FFCRA but also through multiple laws administered by the Department of Labor.
At Wenzel Fenton Cabassa, P.A., we are dedicated employment law attorneys fighting for the rights of workers across Florida. We aggressively advocate for your rights against powerful employers that violate the FFCRA and other laws.
From unpaid wages to wrongful termination and other employee rights issues, our attorneys are passionate about defending the rights of employees. We know what it takes to hold powerful employees accountable for violations of employment law and are here to help.
If you have not been paid for time off for testing and quarantine and are covered under the FFCRA, contact us today for a free consultation.
Please Note: At the time this article was written, the information contained within it was current based on the prevailing law at the time. Laws and precedents are subject to change, so this information may not be up to date. Always speak with a law firm regarding any legal situation to get the most current information available.