WASHINGTON D.C., DC — D.C. and the surrounding counties are experiencing record coronavirus cases since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. The surge in positive cases has people missing time from work. Many are asking if you contract the virus, does your company have to pay you while you’re quarantined?
In March of 2021, The American Rescue Plan Act was put into place to protect workers during what we all thought would be the height of the pandemic. WUSA9 spoke with an attorney to verify your rights as an employee if you test positive.
Our sources for this story are Attorney Stephanie Rapp-Tully and The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.
Are there federal government mandates requiring your employer to give you paid time off if you contract COVID-19 and are unable to work?
Originally, The American Rescue Plan Act was in place requiring the federal government to give paid time off, however, that expired. But at this point, there’s no, let’s say, additional leave that the federal government gives for contracting COVID.
Rapp-Tully believes because there’s been such a focus on vaccine rollouts and mandates, no new federal legislation has been put into place. If you’re sick with the virus and unable to work, she said FMLA is an option and you have rights if you’re not granted that time.
“An employee may have a possible action for something along the lines of a disability discrimination case or failure to accommodate or an FMLA claim. If an employer says no, you have to come back, you’re out of PTO, and you’re still within the CDC guidelines of when you’re supposed to stay home and quarantine,” Rapp-Tully said.
Leave without pay is another option Rapp-Tully said you have when you’re out of paid time off and unable to work. It’s money deducted from your paycheck.
“They can offer ‘leave without pay’ situations for somebody who cannot come back, which of course doesn’t help an employee very much who’s struggling with COVID, but that’s currently where it stands,” she added.
We can verify, that right now there is no federal legislation protecting employees in the event they contract COVID-19.