Guidance for Public Sector Employees and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)
The U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division ("WHD") has provided guidance regarding public sector employees and the FFCRA. Here, we give an overview of the guidance provided by WHD regarding the public sector.
Public sector employees (those who work for federal or state governments, municipalities, counties, or other similar governmental entities regardless of the number of employees they have) are entitled to the same benefits available to non-public sector employees. Generally speaking, all employees working for entities with fewer than 500 employees are eligible for paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave under the FFCRA. Employers are prohibited from discharging, disciplining, or otherwise discriminating against employees who take advantage of the benefits under the FFCRA.
Expanded paid family and medical leave is now generally available to non-federal public sector employees. That said, the vast majority of federal employees are covered under Title II of the Family Medical Leave Act ("FMLA"), which was not amended by the FFCRA. Those employees would not be entitled to expanded family and medical leave. The Office of Management and Budget ("OMB") may exclude certain categories of Executive Branch employees. Further, public sector health care providers and emergency room responders may also be excluded by their employers.
As for paid sick leave, in addition to similar exceptions that apply to health care providers and emergency responders, certain U.S. Government Executive Branch employees may be excluded from taking certain kinds of paid sick leave by the OMB.
If you are a public sector employee who believes you are entitled to but have been denied paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave, we encourage you to raise your concerns with your employers to resolve your disputes; however, you may also contact the WHD directly. If your efforts are unsuccessful, consider reaching out to an employment law attorney who may be able to bring a lawsuit on your behalf.
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This Wandro & Associates Update is intended to inform firm clients and friends about legal developments, including recent decisions of various courts and administrative bodies. Nothing in this Practice Update should be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion, and readers should not act upon the information contained in this Update without seeking the advice of legal counsel.