Covid-19Family Care

April 30, 2020 by MJ Lacourse

My child’s daycare or school is closed because of the coronavirus threat. Can I take time off to care for my child?

In addition to the 10 days of paid sick leave described in FAQ 3, your employer may be required to allow you to take an additional 10 weeks of job-protected leave with partial pay to care for your child while your child is out of school or daycare is unavailable, for a total of 12 weeks of leave.  The first 10 days for this leave are unpaid, unless you choose to use paid leave provided by your employer, including the sick leave described in FAQ 3.  Then, your employer must pay you for the next 10 weeks at least ⅔ of your regular rate of pay up to a cap of $200 per day or $10,000 total.  During this time, you may opt to instead use paid time off provided by your employer, such as vacation time, in order to receive your full salary, but it will not expand the length of the job-protected leave. 

The U.S. Department of Labor has a detailed list of questions and answers about the leave provisions of the Families First Act here

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. The law applies if: (1) you are an employee of the Federal Government or your employer has fewer than 500 employees; and (2) you have been employed for 30 calendar days.  However, employers with fewer than 50 employees may be able to obtain a waiver from the Department of Labor relieving them from having to provide leave under the Act, and employers of employees who are healthcare providers or emergency responders can opt out of the law. 

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.