Friday, April 24, 2020

Employer settles with DOL for FFCRA violation

Yesterday, the DOL issued a news release, Tucson, Arizona, Company to Pay Back Wages After Denying Paid Sick Leave To Worker Whose Doctor Ordered Coronavirus Quarantine. The employee provided documentation to his employer of his doctor's instructions to self-quarantine. Of course, people who are directed by their doctor to self-quarantine are entitled to 80 hours of emergency paid sick leave under the FFCRA.
So, what's the settlement? The employer agreed to pay the employee $20/hour wage for the 80 hours of leave available under the FFCRA - or $1,600. It is not clear from the press release whether the employer will receive the tax credit ordinarily available for FFCRA leave payments. Here, the employer could end up effectively paying nothing if they get the money back via tax credit. 

Note, however, that the FFCRA regulations make clear that FFCRA violations may result in the penalties available under the FLSA. Under 29 U.S. Code § 216, that includes lost wages, doubled as liquidated damages, and in extreme circumstances, potentially even fines up to $10,000 and jail time for repeat offenders. Enforcement may also include injunctions under 29 U.S. Code § 217.

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