Some employers are asking workers to stay home if they feel sick, but it’s not clear who will get paid and who won’t

Written by on March 6, 2020

Some employers are asking workers to stay home if they feel sick, but it’s not clear who will get paid and who won’t

By Tyler Pratt

March 6, 2020

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

New CDC guidelines say employees shouldn’t go to work if they’re feeling sick to help limit the spread of the coronavirus.

And while Pennsylvania has no reported cases of coronavirus, some local companies are advising workers to do the same. But as WLVR’s Tyler Pratt reports, not all employees can be sure they’ll get paid — or even keep their job – if they stay home. 

Managers at local warehouses like Mack Trucks and community staples like Longacre Dairy say they’re telling employees to not come in if they’re coughing or feel sick. And that their policies and plans to run their business, may change as news unfolds over the next few weeks. 

It’s unclear what this means for many hourly workers who don’t get sick time. Ari Karpf is an employment attorney in Bucks County. 

“Unfortunately for most employees who have something like the common flu, the flu, a cold or just bronchitis or something of that nature they’re not legally protected – even if they’re terminated for absences,” says Karpf.

Karpf’s firm covers employment law in Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey and each state has different rules. There are federal protections – but those apply to companies with 50 or more employees.

“And that’s the family medical leave act. If they meet the threshold  and have to miss more than three consecutive days for medical treatment then they MIGHT be protected under the federal law,” says Karpf.

Karpf says if you’re sick, need to stay home and are concerned about the safety of your job – contact an employment lawyer or agency. He says many will provide a consultation for free.

For a full list of our reports and resources, visit WLVR.org/health.


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