FAQ – Going Back to Work After Covid-19

Governors all over the country are starting to reopen their states after being locked down to slow the spread of Covid-19. As the phased reopens occur, people are starting to head back to work.  While everyone knew the lockdowns would not last forever, many workers have valid concerns about their safety or other legal protections they may have.  It’s impossible to know the answers to all the questions at this point, but there are three issues I think we’ll see the most.

What if I wasn’t paid for all the time I worked?

 Make sure that you’re getting paid for all the time that you spend working. This means that you should get paid for every hour, every minute, every second that you work. If you’re not, your employer could be violating the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) or your state wage act.  If there’s a wage violation, your employer would owe you money. You need to really look into this if you have been telecommuting or working from home, where some articles and studies have said that people are working longer hours than they normally do. 

What do I do with my kids if I have to go back to work?

A lot of parents are being forced to go back to work. Usually, their kids would be in a summer camp or daycare, but unfortunately those are not all open yet.  This puts parents in a position where they have to leave their kids alone, which is probably illegal, or leave their job, which could lead to financial ruin.  If this happens to be your situation, know that you should be able to get benefits from the Families First Coronavirus Act or from the CARES Act. Under the Families First Coronavirus Act, you should be eligible for paid sick leave at the least.  Depending on how long you’ve been working, you may be eligible for 10 weeks of paid family medical leave too.  If all else fails, you should be eligible for unemployment benefits under the CARES Act. 


What if I have a health condition that makes getting Covid-19 more dangerous to me?

Some people are terrified to go back to work because they have an underlying health condition that would make it more difficult to beat Covid-19.  If you are in this situation, make sure that you start the conversation with your physician to get a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”).  Your job is required to have a conversation with you about accommodations.  If you have already been working from home or telecommuting, there shouldn’t be any issue with an accommodation for you to continue working from home so that you decrease your chance of exposure to Covid- 19. 

What if I’m not sure if I’m protected?

These are only the three most common issues I think workers will face as they go back to work.  There are plenty of other protections for employees that I couldn’t fit into this article.   If you feel like you are in a situation where you need those protections, or you are not sure if you are protected, feel free to reach out to me and schedule a free initial consultation.  

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James J. Hux is the Owner and Sole Attorney at Hux Law Firm, LLC. His practice areas include employment discriminationpersonal injury, and general civil litigation throughout the State of Ohio.