In this episode of Parenting Impossible, Host Annette Hines and Employment Law Attorney Rebecca Pontikes discuss the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and accessing different benefits you may be entitled to as a caregiver.

Rebecca is the founder of Pontikes Law, LLC and represents employees in all areas of employment law. She specializes in gender and family responsibility (caregiver) discrimination, sexual harassment, negotiation of employment contracts and separation agreements, non-competition agreements, retaliation and whistle-blower claims (in all sectors, including the government and financial sectors), violations of the Family and Medical Leave Act, and violations of the wage statutes.

Annette and Rebecca begin the show with an explanation of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. The act requires certain employers to provide their employees with paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. 

There are six general reasons an employee may qualify for paid sick time if they are unable to work:

  1. You are subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19.
  2. You have been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine related to COVID-19.
  3. You are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and are seeking a medical diagnosis.
  4. You are caring for an individual that has been ordered to self-quarantine.
  5. You are caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed for reasons related to COVID-19.
  6. You are experiencing any other substantially-similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Secretaries of Labor and Treasury.

Under the FFCRA, an employee qualifies for expanded family leave if the employee is caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed for reasons related to COVID-19. However, as Annette and Rebecca discuss, employees taking leave as a caregiver are only entitled payment at 2/3 their regular rate.

Annette and Rebecca also break down the difference between furloughs and layoffs and how to access certain benefits you may be entitled to such as vacation days, healthcare, and unemployment. 

Annette Hines has been practicing in the areas of Special Needs, Elder Law, and Estate Planning for more than 20 years. Ms. Hines brings personal experience with special needs to her practice and podcasts as the mother of two daughters, one of whom passed away from Mitochondrial disease in November 2013. This deep, personal understanding of special needs fuels her passion for quality special needs planning and drives her dedication to help others within the special needs community.