The Intersection of Paid Sick Time and Paid Family Leave
Overview The following elements of regulatory guidance address the intersection of paid sick time benefits and paid family leave benefits and/or provide guidance that apply directly to both types of leave. Can Use Both Sick Time and Paid Leave Both the paid sick time and paid family leave provisions permit an employee to take paid leave when needed to care for his or her son or daughter whose school or place of care is closed, or child care provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19 related reasons. New regulations clarify how the two interact when an employee qualifies for both types of leave. When an employee qualifies for leave under both Acts, an employee may first use the two weeks of leave as provided under the paid sick time provisions. This use runs concurrently with the first two weeks of unpaid leave under the EFMLA. Any remaining leave taken for this purpose is paid under the paid family leave provisions. 12-Week Maximum is Combined When an employee has already taken some portion of the FMLA leave they are entitled to (in the current 12-month leave year), the maximum twelve weeks of EFMLA leave is reduced by the amount of the regular FMLA leave taken in that 12-month leave year. If an employee has exhausted his or her twelve workweeks of FMLA or EFMLA leave, the employee may still take paid sick time for a COVID-19 qualifying reason. Paid Sick Time is Separate In the situation where an employee has used their emergency sick time, this does not prevent the employee from taking paid family leave. For example, if the employee uses their 80 hours of COVID-19 paid sick time, and then later needs to take a leave under the COVID-19 paid family leave, the employee may do so. In this case, the first ten days of COVID-19 paid family leave would be unpaid. The employee may choose to use other accrued paid leave, if available. Employee Notice Procedures Employers may require employees to follow reasonable notice procedures. Generally, it is acceptable to require notice as soon as practicable after the first workday or portion of a workday missed or for which an employee receives paid sick time or paid family leave. Employers may require that employees provide oral notice and sufficient information for an employer to determine whether the requested leave is a COVID-19 eligible leave. It is reasonable for an employer to require an employee to comply with the employer's usual notice procedures and requirements, absent unusual circumstances. If an employee fails to give proper notice, the employer should give him or her notice of the failure and an opportunity to provide the required documentation prior to denying the request for leave.
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