Scott County Justice Center (copy)

Scott County’s Government and Justice Center. The county closed its buildings amid the pandemic.

Scott County employees are now eligible for paid leave for emergency family or medical reasons related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Scott County Board of Commissioners enacted new policies last Tuesday to comply with the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

Sick leave is already available to employees, but new provisions cover employees who may need to care for someone else who’s sick. The legislation, signed into law by President Donald Trump on March 18, outlines new paid leave requirements effective April 1 through the end of the year.

“It’s really to support and help employees who were directly impacted by COVID-19,” Cindy Geis, the county’s community services director, told commissioners at the March 31 meeting.

The Emergency Family and Medical Leave expansion grants up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave to employees who need to care for their children.

Employees are covered if their need to provide child care arose because of a school or day care closure or because their children’s regular care provider is otherwise unavailable due to the public health emergency.

The first two weeks of leave is unpaid, and then the rest of the leave is paid at two-thirds the employee’s regular pay for hours worked for up to 12 weeks.

Emergency paid sick leave, an entirely new provision, is designed to help employees who are ill or need to act as a caregiver.

Employees are eligible for sick leave if they are unable to work or telework because they are subject to a federal, state or local quarantine, have been advised to self-quarantine by a health care provider or are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and are seeking a medical diagnosis.

Under these categories, employees will be paid their regular rate of pay for up to 80 hours. If an employee is caring for someone in quarantine, they will be paid two-thirds of their regular rate.

A “catch-all” category is in place to cover other conditions that haven’t yet been established but might arise as the situation evolves, Geis said.

“I do think we are going to have a number of people who are going to be eligible under multiple of these categories,” she said. “As soon as those leaves start coming in, we will be working closely to make sure we have all of our services covered.”

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