Hawaii Food Retailer To Pay Back Wages To Employee Wrongly Denied Paid Sick Leave To Care For Child After Coronavirus Closes School

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Press Release from the U.S. Department of Labor | May 13, 2020

Read in the Star-Advertiser: Maui retail store employee owed back wages after being denied leave to care for child during crisis

An investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division has led a Maui, Hawaii, retail store specializing in grocery, household, health and beauty products to pay $800 in back wages to an employee denied paid leave to care for their child whose school closed due to the coronavirus.

WHD investigators found Mana Foods Inc. violated the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) by denying the leave. When advised of its EPSLA obligations, Mana Foods agreed to pay $800 in paid sick leave benefits to the employee as required. The employer also agreed to display the Family First Coronavirus Response Act poster, which details employer obligations and employee rights to coronavirus-related sick leave from April 1, 2020 through Dec. 31, 2020.

“The U.S. Department of Labor is working to protect employee rights and educate employers during the coronavirus pandemic,” said Wage and Hour District Director Terence Trotter in Honolulu, Hawaii. “We encourage employers and employees to call us for assistance to improve their understanding of the new requirements under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and use our educational online tools to avoid violations like those found in this case. WHD continues to provide updated information on our website and through extensive outreach efforts to ensure that workers and employers have the information they need about the benefits and protections of this new law.

The FFCRA helps the U.S. combat and defeat the workplace effects of the coronavirus by giving tax credits to American businesses with fewer than 500 employees to provide employees with paid leave either for the employee’s own health needs or to care for family members. Please visit WHD’s “Quick Benefits Tips” for information about how much leave workers may qualify to use, and the wages employers must pay. The law enables employers to keep their workers on their payrolls, while at the same time ensuring that workers are not forced to choose between their paychecks and the public health measures needed to combat the virus.

 WHD provides additional information on common issues employers and employees face when responding to the coronavirus and its effects on wages and hours worked under the Fair Labor Standards Act and on job-protected leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act at https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic

For more information about the laws enforced by WHD, call 866-4US-WAGE, or visit www.dol.gov/agencies/whd

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