The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) requirement that most employers provide paid leave for COVID-19 ended on Dec. 31, 2020.
If you have to miss work because you have COVID-19 or are caring for ill family members, check with your employer to see if they offer paid leave. This leave may be covered under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
Last updated 3.4.22.
Paid sick leave
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) required most employers with less than 500 employees to provide paid sick leave to employees impacted by COVID-19. The requirement that paid leave be offered through FFCRA ended on Dec. 31, 2020, but employers may still offer paid leave. Check with your employer to see if they will continue to offer paid leave.
Unpaid sick leave
If you are sick with COVID-19 or are caring for a spouse, child or parent who is sick with COVID-19, you may be able to take unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
FMLA leave is up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave within a designated 12-month leave year. Under FMLA your employer is required to maintain your health benefits during leave and restore you to your same or an equivalent job after your leave is over. The law also protects you from interference and retaliation for exercising or attempting to exercise your FMLA rights.
Who is eligible for FMLA leave?
You are eligible to take FMLA leave if you work for a covered employer and all of the following apply:
- You have worked for your employer for at least 12 months.
- You have at least 1,250 hours of service over the 12-month period before your leave begins.
- You work at a location where at least 50 employees are employed by the employer within 75 miles.
Private employers are covered employers under the FMLA if they have 50 or more employees in any 20 workweeks in the current or last calendar year. Public agencies (including federal, state and local government agencies) and public and private elementary and secondary schools are covered FMLA employers no matter the number of employees they have.
When is COVID-19 eligible for FMLA leave?
There are specific family and medical reasons outlined in the FMLA that you must meet to be eligible for FMLA leave. One of these reasons is a "serious health condition."
COVID-19 may be considered a "serious health condition" under the FMLA if any of the following apply:
- It requires an overnight stay in a hospital or other medical care facility.
- It incapacitates you or your family member (for example, unable to work or attend school) for more than 3 consecutive days and includes ongoing medical treatment (either multiple appointments with a health care provider, or a single appointment and follow-up care, like prescription medication).
- It results in chronic conditions that cause occasional periods when you or your family member is incapacitated and require treatment by a health care provider at least twice a year.