MOBILE, AL (STL.News) The operator of a Smoothie King franchise in Mobile, Alabama, has paid $918 in back wages to seven employees after wrongly denying them emergency paid sick leave. The seven employees took leave while some sought medical diagnosis for suspected coronavirus infection and others followed orders to self-quarantine due to coronavirus exposure at the workplace.
U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division investigators found that Tricrown Inc. in Mobile, Alabama, violated Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) by denying the emergency paid sick leave. After WHD contacted Tricrown, the employer agreed to pay the back wages and comply with the FFCRA’s requirements in the future.
“The U.S. Department of Labor is protecting the American workforce during the coronavirus pandemic by ensuring employers comply with all of the requirements of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act,” said Wage and Hour Regional Administrator Juan Coria in Atlanta, Georgia. “The Wage and Hour Division encourages employers and employees to contact us to learn about their rights and responsibilities under this Act. We offer many online tools to help employers avoid violations like those found in this investigation.”
The FFCRA helps the U.S. combat and defeat the workplace effects of the coronavirus by giving tax credits to American businesses with fewer than 500 employees either to provide employees with paid leave for the employee’s own health needs or to care for family members. Please visit WHD’s “Quick Benefits Tips” for information about how much leave workers may qualify to use, and the wages employers must pay. The law enables employers to provide paid leave reimbursed by tax credits, 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 continues to provide updated information on its website and through extensive outreach efforts to ensure that workers and employers have the information they need about the benefits and protections of this new law. The agency also 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