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How to get paid sick leave or paid time off to stay home with your kids for 2 weeks

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act provides 14 days of paid time off, even if your employer doesn't give you sick time.

GREENSBORO, N.C. (WFMY) — The Families First Coronavirus Response Act became public law March 18 and provides you with paid time off if:

  • You are sick with COVID-19.
  • You are caring for someone sick with COVID-19.
  • Your doctor gives you an order to stay home due to a weak immune system.
  • You have children to care for that are home due to mandatory school closure.

How does it work?

Attorney Alexander Maultsby of Fox Rothschild, LLP explains how you can get paid time off even if your employer doesn't give you sick time.

"You get two weeks of leave with full pay, and the employer then gets compensation. What the new law requires is you get this 14 days without having to use any of your sick leave or vacation. This is just like your vacation pay. You're not getting anything from the government."

There are no forms to fill out to get this sick leave. You need to talk to your employer, and it's a good idea to have a doctor's note.

Getting time off for childcare

"If you have to be home because your child's school was ordered shut by the governor, you are entitled to two-thirds of your pay for those two weeks. On top of that, you now qualify for FMLA, or Family and Medical Leave, for up to an additional 10 weeks after those two weeks," Maultsby said.

You can simply take the two weeks of leave. But if you're thinking you want extra time, Maultsby said you'll want to apply for FMLA first because you don't get paid for the first two weeks of FMLA, and then immediately after, file for the 2 weeks of paid sick leave. This is the best way to ensure there will be no lapse in pay.

Now, who qualifies for these sick leave provisions? If your employer doesn't provide sick leave, this is for you.

"If you work at Target, for example, this does not apply. If you work for Amazon, this does not apply. Any employer with more than 500 employees doesn't apply," Maultsby said. "The reason is Congress believes if you work for an employer that big, they tend to already have a decent paid sick leave policy.”