The U.S. Department of Labor has now issued guidance/FAQs on COVID-19 and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the FMLA. The guidance can be found here for FLSA Q&A and FMLA Q&A.
A couple of important takeaways:
Think twice before using unpaid "volunteers" to fill staff shortages - the FLSA generally mandates that workers be paid at least minimum wage for all work performed;
Non-exempt employees do not have to be paid if they are not working;
Exempt employees generally have to be paid full salary if they work any part of a week;
Employers may encourage or require telework, and must consider it as a reasonable accommodation;
The guidance does not state specifically whether COVID-19 is a serious health condition under the FMLA;
Employees who stay home simply to avoid contracting COVID-19 are not covered under the FMLA;
Employees should remember that Title VII anti-discrimination laws apply with respect to employer policies and decisions, even amid COVID-19; and
Employers may require a doctor's note prior to returning to work.
If you have questions about this topic or other employment law matters, please contact Perry or the HSB Employment Law practice team.
For additional resources on COVID-19, please access HSB's resource page.