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What Is The Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act? 


Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act

On March 18, 2020, President Trump signed into the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act. This law will take effect on April 1, 2020. 

Am I covered under this act?

You are covered if: 

  • you are subject to federal, state or local quarantine or isolation due to COVID-19;
  • a medical provider has advised you to self-quarantine;
  • you are experiencing symptoms of Covid-19 and trying to get a diagnosis;
  • you are caring for someone who is in or has been advised to quarantine due to COVID-19;
  • you are caring for a some or daughter under 18 whose school or day care is closed as a result of the public health emergency related to COVID-19. 


  • you work for a private employer with less than 500 employees that is engaged in commerce or an industry or activity affecting commerce or a public agency.

I work for a medical facility – am I still covered?

It depends. Employers of employees who work as medical care providers or emergency responders can opt out of this law. 

How Much Will I Be Paid?

  • If you are a full-time employee, you will be paid for 80 hours of sick time
  • If you are a part-time employee, you will be paid for the same amount of time you worked over a two week period

Total payments are capped at $511 per day/total of $5,110

BUT if you are missing work because your child’s school or daycare is closed, or you will be paid at 2/3 of your regular rate of pay for a cap of $200 per day/$2000 total.

I have been out of work since last week because my doctor advised me to self-isolate. My employer told me that I have to use my PTO – is this legal?

Yes. The Emergency Sick Leave Act goes into effect on April 1, 2020 (Not April 2, 2020, as originally planned) and is not retroactive.

I was out of work due to COVID-19 before April 1, and my employer has paid me to stay home – am I still able to take paid leave under the Emergency Sick Leave Act?

Yes. Your employer cannot deny you leave under the Emergency Sick Leave Act simply because you took paid leave before April 1.

Can I take 80 hours of sick leave for me if I get sick with COVID-19 and then another 80 hours of sick leave because I am caring for a family member who is sick with COVID-19?

No. The law provides a total of 80 hours of paid sick leave for full time employees and a pro-rated amount for part time employees.

My employer said that I can’t take sick leave unless I get someone to cover my shift – is this legal?

No. Your employer cannot require you to find a replacement for my shift. 

Can my employer refuse to pay this sick leave?

Failure to pay sick time under this act is a violation of the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act. 

Can my employer demote me or fire me if I take sick leave under this Act?

No.  An employer who disciplines, discriminates or fires an employee for taking this leave violates this law. 

Schedule A Consultation With Our Employment Rights Attorneys

At Hayber, Mckenna & Dinmore we are advocates for your employee rights. Contact our Connecticut and Massachusetts employee rights attorneys today, if you have further questions regarding the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act. We are dealing with an unprecedented pandemic across our nation and you should know your rights with regards to sick leave. Call (860) 522-8888 today.