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What are my employment rights during COVID?

With the COVID-19 pandemic in full effect, it’s important for workers to know exactly what their options are. Unemployment is on the rise and essential workers are at high risk for contracting COVID-19.

Here is some important information for you about your employment rights during this time:

Sickness in the family

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) allows employees who work for employers of less than 500 employees to take up to 80 hours of emergency sick leave. An employee may take emergency sick leave under FFCRA if they are:

  • Subject to a quarantine or self-isolation order
  • Advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns about coronavirus
  • Experiencing symptoms of coronavirus and are seeking a diagnosis
  • Caring for their child if their school or day care has been closed

Will I get paid leave due to the coronavirus?

Most states are allowing you to file for unemployment benefits if your work is affected due to the coronavirus.

In Pennsylvania, you may be eligible for unemployment if:

  • Your employer temporarily closes or goes out of business because of COVID-19
  • Your employer reduces your hours because of COVID-19
  • You have been told not to work because your employer feels you might get or spread COVID-19
  • You have been told to quarantine or self-isolate, or live/work in a county under government-recommended mitigation efforts

I feel as though my workplace is unsafe. What do I do?

While COVID-19 has changed the world around us, workers still have the right to expect a healthy and clean work environment.

If you are still working during the pandemic but feel as though your employers are not taking proper care or protocol when it comes to the coronavirus, it is vital to know what to do. The Occupational Safety and Health Act gives employers the responsibility to provide a safe workplace. Thanks to this act, you have the right to file a confidential safety and health complaint to request an inspection of your workplace. When filing a complaint, it may be in your best interest to work with a legal advocate to ensure you are properly filing for the correct reason.

COVID-19 is a global crisis that no one could anticipate. Questions have been rising around this pandemic, especially those considering employment. Ask questions. Learn what steps you can take moving forward for the safety and security for your family.