Covid-19Family Care

April 30, 2020 by MJ Lacourse

Can I lose my job if I need to take time off because I am sick with COVID-19 or my family member is sick with COVID-19?

As described in FAQ 9, COVID-19 may be a disability within the meaning of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Maine Human Rights Act (MHRA).  If so, it would be illegal for your employer to fire you because you develop COVID-19, because it regards you as having COVID-19, or because you associate with someone who has COVID-19.  Additionally, as described in FAQ 8, if you have COVID-19, your employer may need to provide you with accommodations, including leave. 

In addition to the paid leave described above, you may also be entitled to job-protected unpaid leave to care for your own serious health condition or the serious health condition of a family member.  Importantly, this job-protected leave does apply to employers with more than 500 employees. 

You likely qualify for up to 12 weeks of leave per each calendar year under the federal FMLA if all of the following statements apply to you:

  • You work for an employer with at least 50 employees within 75 miles of your worksite;
  • You have worked there for at least a year, and
  • You worked at least 1250 hours in the year before you take time off.

If you do not qualify for leave under the federal FMLA, you likely qualify for up to 10 weeks of leave per two calendar years under the state FMLA if both of the following statements apply to you: 

  • You work for an employer with at least 15 employees at your work site; and
  • You have worked there for at least a year.

Your employer is required to continue to provide you with the same benefits, such as group health insurance coverage, during your leave as you would have had if you continued to work.

DISCLAIMER: This FAQ Sheet is intended to provide accurate, general background information regarding legal rights relating to employment in Maine. It is not legal advice. Because laws and legal procedures are subject to differing interpretations and frequent change, particularly in an emergency, the authors cannot ensure the information is current or be responsible for how the information is used. Do not rely on this information without consulting an attorney or the appropriate agency about your rights in your particular situation.