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Who Qualifies for Paid Leave During COVID-19?

Published May 15, 2020 by Brooks Law Firm

If you have been unable to work due to a COVID-19 infection or because you are providing care for someone in your family who is sick with COVID-19, you may be eligible for paid time off. If you got sick due to exposure at work, you may be wondering whether you qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. It is important to understand how COVID-19 paid leave works and all your options.

The federal government’s coronavirus emergency relief package gives qualified workers two weeks of paid sick leave if they are ill themselves or caring for a family member with COVID-19. Some workers will be eligible for up to 12 weeks of paid leave if they are providing care for a child whose school is closed due to the COVID-19 emergency.

At Brooks Law, we are committed to ensuring workers understand their rights under the law.

How Much COVID-19 Paid Leave Do You Get Under the Law?

If a worker is sick with COVID-19, then that person is eligible for his or her full amount of wages or the minimum wage — whichever is higher. This amount can be a total of up to $511 per day depending upon the employee’s usual wage. If the employee is caring for a family member who is sick with COVID-19 or for a child who is out of school because of a school coronavirus closure, then the worker is eligible to receive two-thirds of his or her usual pay, with a daily pay limit of $200.

What Are the Exclusions?

Nearly all workers at small and medium-size companies will qualify for paid sick leave due to the coronavirus pandemic. Workers at nonprofits and most government agencies will also qualify, provided the worker has been employed for at least 30 days prior to requesting paid sick leave. Both part-time and self-employed workers are eligible, including workers in the gig economy, such as Uber or Lyft drivers.

However, there are exclusions. Workers at companies that have more than 500 employees cannot receive paid leave under the coronavirus relief measure. Very small businesses with fewer than 50 employees must provide the two weeks of paid sick leave, but they may be able to exempt themselves from the paid leave for child care.

Can You Get Workers’ Compensation for COVID-19?

If you were exposed to coronavirus at work, you could be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits for COVID-19. Generally speaking, you will need to be able to prove that the exposure occurred at work, and that you were more likely to be exposed at work than during other required activities such as going to the grocery store or the local pharmacy. Workers in certain industries may be able to meet requirements for workers’ compensation, such as employees in the healthcare industry. However, you should discuss your particular situation with a workers’ compensation lawyer in Massachusetts.

Talk to a Lawyer Now

If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 after being exposed to the coronavirus at work, we know how important it is to find out if you are eligible for paid leave or workers’ compensation benefits. A Massachusetts workers’ comp lawyer at our firm can speak with you today about your situation.
Contact Brooks Law to learn more about your rights under the law.

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