Overview: Federal Emergency Paid Sick Leave Summary

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(Below is an overview of the Emergency Sick Leave Law.  For a comprehensive overview, including an overview of the emergency FMLA, click here: comprehensive summary )

COVERED EMPLOYERS – employers with fewer than 500 employees and public employers of any size.

ELIGIBLE EMPLOYEES – every employee, full-time and part-time, regardless how long they’ve been employed


1) the employee is subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;

2) the employee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine because of COVID-19;

3) the employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and is seeking a medical diagnosis;

4) the employee is caring for an individual subject or advised to quarantine or self-isolate;

5) the employee is caring for a son or daughter whose school or place of care is closed, or child care provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19 precautions; or

6) the employee is experiencing substantially similar conditions as specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Secretaries of Labor and Treasury.  

HOW MUCH – Employee is entitled to 80 hours of paid sick time based on their regular rate of pay (or, for workers who work less than full time, the typical number of hours they are scheduled to work in a two-week period).

Where an employee takes leave for reasons (1), (2) and (3) above (generally, an employee’s own illness or quarantine), employee is entitled to 100% of their pay, capped at $511 per day ($5,110 in the aggregate).

Where leave is taken for reasons (4), (5), or (6) (care for others or school closures), employee is entitled to 2/3rds of their pay, capped at $200 per day ($2,000 in the aggregate)

COORDINATION WITH EXISTING POLICIES – Any paid leave provided before the law is enacted cannot be credited against the employee’s paid leave entitlement.  An employer and cannot require an employee to use other paid leave provided by the employer before the use of paid sick time. (Note: EANJ reads this as including earned sick leave under state law).  An employer cannot change its existing sick leave policy to avoid compliance. An employer cannot require an employee to search for a replacement or to cover hours during the use of paid sick time.

WORKER PROTECTION - An employer cannot retaliate against an employee for using paid sick time and a violation of the law is treated as a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act for imposition of penalties.

WRITTEN NOTICE TO EMPLOYEES - Employers are required to post a model notice provided by the U.S. Department of Labor.

EFFECTIVE: April 2, 2020; sunsets on December 31, 2020.