FAQs regarding coronavirus sick leave

| Mar 26, 2020 | Employment Law

As America continues to deal with the effects of the coronavirus, many families in Kentucky are worried about how they’re going to pay their bills if they get laid-off. While state officials are working to make sure families get what they need, other forms of support are available to them as well.

In late December, Congress passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. The bill gives workers infected with the virus two full weeks of paid sick leave at 100% of their pay. It also offers ten additional weeks of paid family leave at 67% of a worker’s regular compensation. This can assist employees who have family members infected with the virus.

While employers foot the bill for these benefits, the federal government says it will reimburse employers for the expense.

While these benefits can be helpful, workers may have questions about if they’re eligible.

What workers qualify for sick leave under the law?

Workers at smaller companies with 50 or fewer employees are more eligible. However, if the company says these benefits would be burdensome, employees may not get them.

Workers at companies with 500 or more employees may not qualify for these types of benefits. But in many cases, these businesses have bigger budgets to work with and could afford their own extended sick leave.

Do self-employed individuals qualify for these benefits?

Yes, they do. However, these workers may not reap the benefits until next tax season. Self-employed workers who fall ill can receive tax credits equal to their pay for up to 10 days. Some may even qualify for a coronavirus family leave tax credit for up to 50 days. To meet these qualifications, freelance or contract workers must show that:

  • They’ve lost substantial income because their children aren’t in school.
  • They have to homeschool their children.
  • They’re taking care of a family member who has the coronavirus.

How do those eligible for paid leave receive benefits?

Since the money comes directly through a person’s employer, workers should get in contact with their managers or their company’s HR department to ask about next steps.

As the coronavirus continues to fester anxiety and uncertainty across the country, the federal government and state governments are scrambling to help get workers and their families the support they need. While there’s still some grey area around who’s eligible for benefits, expansions could be on their way soon.