COVID-19 & Your Business: Frequent Questions

Will these new statutes apply where an employer reduces the hours of a 40 hour per week full-time employee to less than full-time? For example, to less than 20 hours per week.

The reduction in hours, by itself, does not trigger the right to leave under either the EPSLA or the EFMLEA. DOL Guideline #28 states, “If your employer reduces your work hours because it does not have work for you to perform, you may not use paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for the hours that you are no longer scheduled to work. This is because you are not prevented from working those hours due to a COVID-19 qualifying reason, even if your reduction in hours was somehow related to COVID-19.”

However, if the employee, while on reduced hours, is otherwise qualified for leave, the employee may take leave. DOL Guideline #28 continues, “You may, however, take paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave if a COVID-19 qualifying reason prevents you from working your full schedule. If you do, the amount of leave to which you are entitled is computed based on your work schedule before it was reduced.”

Last updated April 9

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