Workforce Management During COVID-19
APR 06, 2020 by KARA, JD, SPHR
Do we still have to provide emergency paid sick leave or expanded FMLA if we lay off or furlough employees?
No. Employers who are closed — either due to lack of business or a state or local order — do not have to provide these leaves. Employees who are furloughed (temporarily not working but still on the payroll) are also not entitled to these benefits. In either of these cases, employees would be eligible for unemployment insurance instead. However, employers should ensure that they are not making furlough or layoff decisions based on an employee’s request or potential need for leave, as this would likely be considered interference or retaliation (and grounds for a lawsuit).
Kara practiced employment law for five years and worked in Human Resources for several years prior to that. As an attorney, she worked on many wage and hour and discrimination claims in both state and federal court. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Oregon State University and earned her law degree from Lewis and Clark Law School.