WOLFFORTH, Texas (KCBD) - After an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD), West Texas Paving – a road construction company based in Wolfforth - will pay an employee $1,200 in back wages after failing to provide them paid sick leave under the newly passed Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act after healthcare providers ordered the employee with potential coronavirus symptoms to self-quarantine.
The Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act is part of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).
According to a news release, WHD investigators found the employer failed to pay an employee for FFCRA-qualifying paid sick leave after the employee informed the company about their symptoms and medical diagnosis, and was hospitalized.
When WHD contacted the employer to inform them the new law took effect on April 1, 2020, and to explain its obligations, West Texas Paving cooperated fully with investigators. Once they understood their new legal responsibility, the employer agreed to pay the employee’s full wages of $15 an hour for 80 hours of leave. West Texas Paving also agreed to future FFCRA compliance.
“This case should alert all employers that protecting public health and employees’ rights during the coronavirus pandemic are critically important,” said Wage and Hour District Director Evelyn Sanchez in Albuquerque, New Mexico. “We appreciate the employer’s cooperation and their promise to comply with the law once we explained it. We encourage employers and employees alike to call us for assistance or use our online educational tools if they have questions about new labor standards under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.”
The FFCRA is helping the U.S. defeat the workplace effects of the coronavirus by giving tax credits to all American businesses with fewer than 500 employees. These credits help employers provide employees with paid leave for an employee’s health needs, or to care for family members. The law enables employers to keep their workers on their payrolls, while at the same time ensuring that workers are not forced to choose between their paychecks and the public health measures needed to combat the virus.
WHD provides additional information on common issues employers and employees face when responding to the coronavirus and its effects on wages and hours worked under the Fair Labor Standards Act and on job-protected leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act at https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic.
The department offers a webinar to help employers understand their FFCRA responsibilities. For more information about the laws enforced by WHD, call 866-4US-WAGE, or visit www.dol.gov/agencies/whd.
Employers that discover overtime or minimum wage violations may self-report and resolve those violations without litigation through the PAID program. For more information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by the division, contact the toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information is also available at www.dol.gov/agencies/whd including a search tool for workers who may be owed back wages collected by WHD.