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Can Working From Home Get You Fired From Your Job?

It’s undeniable that employees all over the world have been affected by the coronavirus. Now, a lot of them have chosen—or have been required—to work from home, while governments take radical measures to control the outbreak. Unfortunately, not everyone has been given this opportunity, or just can’t work jobs remotely. These workers have been left wondering if they should prioritize their paychecks over their health.

One fear that’s stopping employees from staying home is the thought of getting fired if they don’t physically go to work. As for essential workers who don’t have paid leaves, like most grocery store workers, staying home can potentially get them fired, as well.

A new law promised paid time off, but not the right to work from home

President Donald Trump green-lighted a new law, which grants free COVID-19 screening, paid leave, and improved unemployment insurance benefits for some employees affected by the pandemic.

Notably, the law compels employers with less than 500 employees and public firms to give paid sick leave of up to 80 hours. This benefit is available to full-time workers who can’t work because they are subject to quarantine or caring for somebody else in quarantine. Also, if they have kids in schools that have closed down and/or are showing symptoms of the virus themselves, they’ll also be eligible. Part-time workers who are affected are insured as many hours of paid time off since they usually work over a two-week interval.

But despite this law being implemented, the right of the employees to work from home still wasn’t guaranteed—even though public health officials recommended it.

How much will be paid to every individual who falls under this category?

The newly passed law, which went into effect on April 2, made history as it is the first time that the United States is taking the initiative to provide federally mandated paid leaves. However, 48% of private-sector employees that are working for organizations with over 500 employees are excluded from these benefits.

The compensation for workers on leave depends on the reason why they took time off in the first place. Sick employees will get their typical full pay of up to $511 daily. On the other hand, employees who are caring for an ill family member or children due to closed schools or daycares will get only two-thirds of their usual pay, which is around $200 daily.

Some jobs just can’t be done from home

An analysis made by The New York Times revealed that those most at risk of being exposed to COVID-19 are service workers, who are also less likely to have sick leaves. These workers—like waiters, truck drivers, and cashiers—also can’t do their essential jobs from home.

This pandemic has highlighted the inequality among those who can and cannot work from home. Unless the restrictions and regulations of the federal and the state match up, some employees may still have lesser opportunities than their fellow citizens who can wait out the pandemic at the comfort of their homes.

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