Both the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) were passed in March 2020 by Congress and are intended to help working people affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The CARES Act amended, or added to, the FFCRA to create more financial assistance for the American people, businesses and economy.
The CARES Act is a financial relief package that provided Americans the economic impact payments, provided funding for small businesses and expands unemployment benefits for laid off and unemployed workers. Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) was established as a temporary federal program in place for 39 weeks until December 31, 2020 that expanded eligibility for people out of work.
FFCRA deals with paid sick time and emergency leave for workers impacted by COVID-19 in various ways. You can think of FFCRA as having 2 parts: The first is a short time leave – 2 weeks max – via the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act, or EPSLA. The other is an expanded leave (Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act or EFMLEA) available for 10 weeks, plus the 2 weeks of short-term sick leave, for a total of 12 weeks of paid leave available for employees meeting the requirements.
If you are sick with coronavirus/COVID-19 or caring for a family member, friend or neighborwith COVID-19 and you meet certain eligibility requirements, such as working for an employer of under 500 employees, then you will be able to be paid for 2 weeks off from work. If your child’s school or daycare provider is closed and you work for a private company that has under 500 employees then you will be able to take up to 12 weeks off from work with a paycheck that is 2/3 of your regular wages. For more details on the short and long term emergency leaves created by the federal government, please head over to our library article on the matter.
Even in a pandemic, the MA wage laws protecting our workers still continue to be in effect. This means you are still entitled to receive your paycheck within 6-7 days of your pay period ending. You still need to be paid at least minimum wage for every hour you work, and if your tips alone do not add up to the hourly equivalent your employer needs to be paying the difference. You still need to be paid for traveling to jobsites and homes, on top of receiving mileage reimbursement. And if you work over 40 hours, then your paychecks need to reflect that for every hour over 40 you worked you received 1.5x your hourly wage!
These are just a few of the many offensive, illegal choices we see MA employers make. At Phillips Garcia Law, you get a winning combination of skilled trial attorneys and knowledgable labor law attorneys who know MA civil litigation matters and can negotiate you the best outcome possible.
We also defend our clients against sexual harassment by co-workers and bosses and unfair discrimination on the basis of a client's gender, sexual orientation, race, religion and medical issue or disability. We have been defending our clients for 25+ years against unfair and illegal situations There is a statute of limitations on these issues, so if you are experiencing any of these workplace problems with your bad boss then you need to contact an experienced employment law attorney today via the contact box below or by calling our Dartmouth / New Bedford area office at 508.998.0800.