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Employees have options as businesses partially reopen

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TUCSON - As businesses prepare to reopen this week, there are many factors must be considered.

As part of the Family First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act went into effect April 1.

Both rules protect employees who were affected by the shutdown or those who may not feel safe coming back to work.

"Both of those affect employers with fewer than 500 employees," said Jessica Post, the chair for Labor and Employment for Fennemore Craig Law Firm. "In all likelihood lots of businesses that are opening, you know reopening or opening more expansively need to understand those laws."

Employers can be reimbursed with tax credits for providing employees with paid leave for reasons specific to COVID-19.

"I've dealt with lots of companies having grey situations saying, 'hey is this person covered or isn't this person covered," said Post. "And so we've worked through the regulations in the particular circumstance."

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the FFCRA’s paid leave requirements may include the following:

  • the employee or someone the employee is caring for is subject to a government quarantine order or has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine;
  • the employee is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and is seeking medical attention; or,
  • the employee is caring for his or her son or daughter whose school or place of care is closed or whose child care provider is unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19.

However, if a person is allowed to go back to work and doesn't fall under one of these categories, their options are limited.

"If an employee says you know I don't want to, I'm scared by this, I'd rather stay home," said Post. "That's their choice, I mean they're absolutely able to do that. That will cut off unemployment for them."

For more information and resources, click here.

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Mark Mingura

Mark Mingura joined KVOA as a Multi Media Journalist in October 2019. Originally from the valley and with ties to Tucson, Mark is excited to get back to his home state and tell the stories of the Old Pueblo.

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