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View More Press Releases by Wage and Hour Division [WHD], U.S. Department of Labor [DOL]

Press release:

Bakersfield Non-Dairy Product Manufacturer Pays Back Wages After Denying Paid Sick Leave to Worker Caring for Children With Closed School

Issued by: Wage and Hour Division [WHD], U.S. Department of Labor [DOL]

Date: June 25, 2020

BAKERSFIELD, CA – An employee of a Bakersfield, California, farm has received $5,402 in back wages after an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) found the employer wrongfully denied paid sick leave benefits required under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The employee requested leave to stay at home caring for children whose school closed due to the coronavirus. The employee’s spouse is a first responder unable to care for their child with the school closed. 

Califia Farms, headquartered in Los Angeles, California, required the employee to use his own accrued sick leave, leaving the employee fearing termination once he exhausted his accrued leave. After the employer talked with WHD investigators, they agreed to comply and pay the employee.

“Employees should feel confident exercising their rights under the new Families First Coronavirus Response Act. We are very pleased that employers are providing the appropriate relief under these guidelines,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Kimchi Bui in Los Angeles, California. “We encourage employers and employees to call us for assistance and review our online tools to improve their understanding of the new requirements. 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 all American businesses with fewer than 500 employees either to provide employees with paid leave 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. 

View More Press Releases by Wage and Hour Division [WHD], U.S. Department of Labor [DOL]


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