Can My Employer Make Me Come In If I Have Coronavirus Symptoms?

Can My Employer Make Me Come In If I Have Coronavirus Symptoms?Under Iowa law, you are an employee at will and you are not required to come into work if you do not want to. However, if you decide not to come to work then your job may be in jeopardy. However, if you qualify under the FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) then your job should be protected, but you will need to ask for the FMLA and make sure to have the proper paperwork completed in order to be protected.

Is My Employer Required to Comply with the FMLA?

First of all, you have to determine if your employer is subject to the FMLA. If your employer is engaged in commerce or any industry or activity affecting commerce and has 50 or more employees each working day during at least 20 calendar weeks or more in the current or preceding calendar year then the FMLA applies to them.

Am I Covered Under the FMLA?

In order to be eligible as an employee you must meet the following requirements:

  • have worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12 months prior to the start of the FMLA leave, and
  • have worked for that employer for at least 12 months, and
  • work at a location where at least 50 employees are employed at the location or within 75 miles of the location.

What Does the FMLA Provide?

First of all, the FMLA does not provide you with any weekly benefits. Those could be paid under sick leave, STD (short term disability), workers' compensation or other disability plans. If you qualify for FMLA leave, then you are entitled up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave if you meet one or more of the following requirements:

(a) You have a serious health condition that makes you unable to perform the functions of the position of your job.

(b) You are required to provide care for your spouse, your child or your parent, if such spouse, child or parent has a serious health condition.

(c) Because of the birth of your child in order to provide care for your child.

(d) Because of the placement of a child placed with you for adoption or foster care.

 

What is Considered a Serious Health Condition?

A serious health condition is defined as:

An illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves:

(A) inpatient care in a hospital, hospice, or residential medical care facility; or

(B) continuing treatment by a health care provider.

 

The term "health care provider" means:

 (A) a doctor of medicine or osteopathy who is authorized to practice medicine or surgery (as appropriate) by the State in which the doctor practices; or

(B) any other person determined by the Secretary to be capable of providing health care services.

 

If you have all these items are met then the employee may be entitled to 12 weeks of unpaid leave from work without being terminated. However, your employer may offer sick pay, STD (short term disability) benefits or other benefits that allow you to be paid during part of or all of the 12 week period. If the employer does not provide the 12 weeks as required, then you may have a cause of action against the employer. This is not designed to be an all-inclusive list of the steps which must be taken under the FMLA, in fact, there may be other requirements that must be met. Therefore, each particular case should be analyzed under the FMLA and an attorney consulted regarding what to do.

For more information about Iowa Employment laws including the FMLA, ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) and Iowa Workers' Compensation, request a copy of our Iowa Work Injury Book in which we devote an entire chapter to Your Rights as an Employee Click Here. We offer our book at no risk or cost to fellow Iowans because we have seen far too many Iowans make a costly mistake because they did not have the information they needed.

You can always call us at 641-792-3595 or Contact Us Here


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Corey Walker
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With over 22 years legal experience, Corey has been recognized for his work as an injury attorney.