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Can I Sue My Employer for COVID Leave or Sick Pay?

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Fueled by the highly contagious Omicron variant, new daily cases of the coronavirus in the United States rose to more than 700,000 in January of 2022. With many companies phasing out remote work and calling employees back to the office, COVID leave remains a pressing concern for workers. Given the complexity of the interaction between workplace law and COVID-19-specific regulations, however, some workers may not be receiving the COVID sick pay or time off that they are due. If your employer did not provide adequate time off when either you or a dependent contracted the coronavirus, you should speak with an attorney that is familiar with COVID-19 lawsuits as soon as possible.  

Can I sue my Employer for COVID leave or sick pay if it wasn’t provided at the time?

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows eligible employees to take 12 weeks within a 12-month period of unpaid, job-protected leave. This would include a serious health condition in which the person themselves is unable to work, or if they need to take care of an immediate family member who has a serious health condition such as COVID-19.

Those who have taken medical leave due to COVID-19 may be eligible for this extended FMLA leave if they have worked at the company for a minimum of 12 months, worked 1,250 or more hours in those 12 months, and work at a location with more than 50 employees. If an employer fails to provide leave due to COVID-19 related illnesses, or fires an employee who has taken this leave, they should consult with an attorney over whether they can sue their employer.

If I’ve contracted COVID-19, am I entitled to COVID sick pay?

Office workers at laptops with masks - can I sue my employer for COVID?

Previously, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) covered COVID sick pay for employees who were unable to work due to the coronavirus, but this only accounts for leave taken from April 1, 2020, to December 31, 2020. Current federal law does not require employers to provide paid sick leave due to COVID-19 or any other illness. Most states have their own laws regarding emergency leave and sick pay, however, so it is important to speak with an attorney in your state if you have questions about the legality of any COVID leave or sick pay that you believe you may be due.

California’s 2021 COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave also expired as of September 30, 2021. This covered an additional 80 hours of paid sick leave for COVID-19 related absences. However, California employees continue to be eligible under the Healthy Workplace Healthy Family Act of 2014. Most California employees who have worked 30 or more days within a year since they began their employment are entitled to paid sick leave.

Under this act, eligible California employees can earn one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours at work. Employees may take this time off either for themselves, or to care for a dependent who is sick. There are some exceptions to this rule, however, such as in-home supportive services providers, some air carrier employees, and those covered by qualifying bargaining agreements.

Finding the Right Attorney to Pursue a COVID-19 Lawsuit

An attorney who has knowledge of past COVID-19 lawsuits and precedents can help determine whether your employer should have provided leave, or should have compensated you for paid time off due to a coronavirus-related sickness. If you’re still wondering, “Can I sue my employer for COVID leave,” or you have questions about a COVID vaccine lawsuit, the answers you’re seeking are just a phone call away. At Avrek Law, we’ve resolved over 25,000 cases and have recovered more than $1 billion for our clients. Contact a representative to request a free consultation, or read more about our “no win, no fee” policy – we’re here to help!

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