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Ask 2: If my employer sends me home due to a positive COVID-19 test, do I have to use my PTO?

FILE -- A medical staff takes a sample for a voluntary coronavirus disease test (COVID-19) at the new corona test station at the 'Hochfelln' service station on the A8 motorway between Salzburg and Munich near Bergen, Germany, Thursday, July 30, 2020. German authorities worked through the night to clear a backlog of coronavirus tests from travelers after it emerged 900 people who were positive for COVID-19 had yet to be informed. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader file)
FILE -- A medical staff takes a sample for a voluntary coronavirus disease test (COVID-19) at the new corona test station at the 'Hochfelln' service station on the A8 motorway between Salzburg and Munich near Bergen, Germany, Thursday, July 30, 2020. German authorities worked through the night to clear a backlog of coronavirus tests from travelers after it emerged 900 people who were positive for COVID-19 had yet to be informed. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader file) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

At KPRC 2, we’re dedicated to keeping Houstonians informed. As part of our Ask 2 series, the newsroom will answer your questions about all things Houston.

Question: If my employer sends me home due to a positive COVID-19 test, do I have to use my PTO?

Answer: No, you may want to save those PTO (paid time off) hours.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which was passed in March, requires companies with less than 500 workers to provide paid leave or expanded medical leave due to COVID-19.

You are eligible for FFCRA if any of the following apply to you:

  • Your physician has instructed you to self-quarantine due to COVID-19
  • You are subject to federal, state, or local quarantine, such as recent air travel
  • You have a family member who tested positive for COVID-19 and is seeking medical care
  • You are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking medical care
  • You are caring for a child whose school or place is closed due to COVID-19, and cannot find alternative means of childcare
  • You are experiencing any other substantially-similar condition specified by the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Secretaries of Labor and Treasury

Full-time employees are eligible for up to 80 hours of paid leave, and part-time employees are eligible for the number of hours worked on average over a two-week period. If you are caring for a child, you are eligible for up to 12 weeks of paid leave (two weeks plus 10 weeks expanded family leave).

More information can be found at the U.S. Department of Labor’s website.

Do you have a question? Send it our way, and we will try to hunt down an answer.

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