Many Kentucky employers are small employers with less than 50 employees. During this unprecedented time of COVID-19 in our community it has been difficult to understand the various federal leave policies. The CARES Act put into place emergency leave for employees who have COVID related needs that require them to stay out of the office. Kentucky employers with less than 50 employees should understand what the CARES Act means for their office.
Exemptions for businesses with less than 50 employees
Employers with less than 500 employees have to comply with the CARES Act leave requirement. However, there are some exemptions for employers with less than 50 employees. An employer can deny a CARES Act leave request if the employer can prove:
- Such leave would cause the small business’s expenses to exceed available revenue and cause the employer to cease operating.
- The absence of the employee would put the business in such a dire situation that it would be at risk of its financial health or operational capacity if the employee was not there because of their special skills.
- The small employer cannot find enough other workers who are willing and able to perform the duties of the employee requesting the leave.
If a small employer decides to deny their employee paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave they should document the facts and circumstances surrounding the denial. Of course, employers who grant CARES Act leave get matched tax credits for all wages paid under this leave, so it is rarely a good idea to deny the request. An attorney who specializes in HR policy can help an employer understand the intricacies of the CARES Act and how it applies to their business.