With the current state of the world, you may be thinking about what you can expect if you are unable to go to work due to the Coronavirus. Employment and Labor laws can vary by state, and by county. Additionally, you may have a contract or collective bargaining agreement with your employer that determines what happens when you cannot show up to work due to a public health emergency. While your employer will most likely not require you to come to work if you are under quarantine, your employer may not be required to pay you for the time you are out.
Must your Employer pay you if you are not Working?
Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), an employer may be required to pay you if you are a salary employee. Generally, if a salary employee performs at least some work during the seven-day workweek established by the employer, the law requires that the employee be paid their entire salary for that particular week. Exceptions may occur, as may be the case where the employer is open for business, but the employee chooses to stay home for the day and does not complete any work. Some employers may allow employees to work remotely while they are under quarantine so that the employee can continue to receive their salary.
On the other hand, employers are usually only required to pay hourly employees for hours actually worked. FLSA minimum-wage and overtime requirements only apply to hours worked in a workweek, and usually, employees who are not working are not entitled to a wage under the FLSA.
Ultimately, an employer may have a legal duty to keep paying employees due to an employment contract, a collective bargaining arrangement, or any regulation or procedure that can be enforced as a contract. Nevertheless, most employers will allow employees to take paid sick leave or another type of paid leave benefit if the employee is under quarantine. Additionally, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) may apply if an employee gets sick, but it does not guarantee that the employer will pay the employee while they are out.
Please be advised that the Families First Coronavirus Response Act has significantly altered how employers must handle the COVID-19 pandemic. Please read our blog post on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to be up to date on the most recent laws.