UCC national setting continues paid COVID sick leave protections through 2021
While the federal government let paid sick leave protections expire Dec. 31 with the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, the United Church of Christ national setting will continue them.
“This is important,” said Alisa Lewis, UCC director of Human Resources. “We want to continue those benefits. COVID-19 is not slowing down, there is a new variant to the virus. Just because the government doesn’t extend it, doesn’t mean private employers can’t.”
The two weeks of paid sick time and other emergency and medical family leave available to employees under the FFCRA will be extended proactively by the UCC national setting for reasons related to the pandemic.
“Given the current COVID-19 climate and the increase in cases and hospitalizations across the country, UCC National will go above and beyond the law and continue offering these benefits through the end of 2021,” Lewis said. “If action is taken by the government to extend these benefits, the offerings by the employer will convert to the FFCRA requirements.”
An employee may use two weeks of emergency paid sick leave if they are quarantined, a doctor advises self-quarantine, or the employee has COVID–19 symptoms and is waiting for a diagnosis. Employees may also use that sick time to care for a family member under quarantine or if they are caring for a child whose school or place of care has been closed or is unavailable due to COVID-19 precautions.
In addition, paid family leave for up to 12 weeks will be available to employees caring for school-aged children if their school is closed and they are learning remotely. If the child is enrolled in a hybrid approach with remote learning on particular days, leave will be available for those days.
“Throughout the pandemic, the National Setting has declared our intent to safeguard and protect our work force from its most damaging aspects. While that does include the health aspects, it also includes any potential economic losses,” said General Minister and President John Dorhauer. “We worked very hard to present a balanced budget without losing any personnel. We have fully supported all government proposals to protect income and benefit packages for employees. We are committed to that with or without a government mandate. Our workers are our most precious resource, and we will gladly do all in our power to protect them against foreseeable and manageable losses.”
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