April 1, 2020 Update from the Mayor
Hope you are healthy and safe. I was not much in the mood for April Fool’s pranks today, but so glad to see that we have two beautiful weather days ahead of us.
I thought I would share some information that I received today about the spread of the virus in Illinois and provide some links to information regarding the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act. Might be too much detail for some, but I certainly want you to be aware of employee sick leave policy and the expanded family and medical leave. You should consult with a human resources specialist, accountant or legal counsel for further guidance and clarification on all FFCRA issues.
Today, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced 986 new cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Illinois. Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 6,980 cases in 56 counties in Illinois. Cases by county can be found on the state’s coronavirus website at coronavirus.illinois.gov.
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) provides up to 80 hours of paid sick leave for employees due to certain COVID-19 related reasons (see Section 5102 of FFCRA, linked here). Calculation of the amount of pay while taking paid sick leave is dependent on the normal work schedule and the reason for leave, as explained in Question 7 of the U.S. Department of Labor FFCRA Questions and Answers, linked here.
The law also provides 12 weeks of expanded family and medical leave to an employee who has been employed for at least 30 days and is unable to work while caring for children whose schools have closed due to the COVID-19 emergency. The first 10 days of that leave may be unpaid, or an employee may elect to substitute any accrued vacation leave, personal leave, or medical or sick leave for unpaid leave, including the emergency paid sick leave provided in FFCRA. See Questions 7 and 10 of the U.S. Department of Labor FFCRA Questions and Answers, linked here. For the following 10 weeks’ leave, an employee will be paid not less than 2/3 of the regular rate of pay for the hours an employee would be normally scheduled to work, but not more than $200 per day or $12,000 for the 12 weeks that include both paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave when caring for children.
Finally, it seems that what is old is new again as we hunker down and many of us watch old movies, sitcoms and play old board games. We have found ourselves watching old episodes of the Office, Frasier and even Roseanne. The Office is outstanding, but I actually forgot just how good Frasier and Roseanne were. I recalled an old Jim Gaffigan comedy bit that seems appropriate to all of us as we try to squeeze as much frozen, easily microwavable food into our freezers. Hope you enjoy the Hot Pockets bit: