Know Your Rights As An Employee During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting every community in the country. Workplaces and schools have been closed, public transportation has slowed, and there are delays in community–based services. It can be confusing as an employee to comprehend what laws are surrounding your rights as well as benefits as a worker. You might have many questions about your rights to paid sick leave, medical leave, worker’s compensation, disability benefits, or unemployment insurance.

The following are some legal updates and information on some of the emergency guidelines and laws that have been imposed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic:

Family and Medical Leave

All employers must abide by the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, which enables workers to take unpaid leave, with the right to reinstatement for a specific reason. Employees qualify for FMLA COVID-19 leave if:

  • They worked for at least 1,250 during the preceding year
  • They have worked for the corporation for at least a year
  • They work at a site that has 50 workers in a 75-mile radius

Housing Rights

On March 27th, the Congress approved the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The bill entails a moratorium in some housing evictions. The package included a 60-day suspension on foreclosure on homes with bank loan loans that are federally supported. Additionally, the law allows multifamily assets owners to ask for forbearance for up to 90 days because of financial adversity. Forbearance is a delay in mortgage payments with zero accumulation fees. According to this bill, landlords who receive forbearance are not permitted to serve eviction notices to renters within the forbearance period.

Workers’ Compensation

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) define injuries and ailments as recordable when they are novel and have occurred at workplaces. OSHA exempts recording influenza and the common cold; however, it said that COVID-19 qualifies as recordable only if the worker is infected during work-related duties. Regarding workers’ compensation claims that involve work-from-home injuries apart from the Coronavirus, employers should be ready to address the complaint as if the employee has been injured at their workplace and determine if the injury was self-inflicted or occurred during non-work periods. Workers’ compensation can be difficult to ascertain for some employees but simpler to prove for forefront healthcare workers.

Workplace Discrimination

Federal laws have been put in place to protect employees in an extensive range of situations. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act is a state law that forbids any discrimination based on race, color, gender, religion, or national origin. Various other laws protect the employee from discrimination, such as the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) and The Americans with Disability Act (ADA). During the COVID-19 pandemic, some types of discrimination and harassment may increase. People can get harassed for having or being thought of as having COVID-19. Such harassments generate an unfriendly work situation that should not be tolerated by employers and will be a violation of all the three above laws.

The Coronavirus has changed the work situation for many people in the nation. Employees who work from home are wondering if they can take time off from work if they get sick, or if they will get paid frequently and if the law protects them during this pandemic. The vital thing to remember is that all the present employment laws remain in effect, and the federal government has reinforced various laws to protect its working citizens during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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