MINNEAPOLIS, MN – After an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD), Mundo De Colores Inc. – operator of five Minneapolis-area Spanish language childcare facilities – has paid 28 employees back wages and restored leave valued at $19,447. The employer failed to provide the workers leave required under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). WHD determined Mundo De Colores Inc. – operating as Jardin Spanish Immersion Academy – denied paid leave under the FFCRA to workers who qualified for the benefit, and, in some cases, required employees to use accrued personal time off instead of granting paid leave under the EPSLA. In other cases, the employer required employees to take leave without pay when they were in fact qualified for paid time off under the FFCRA. Once notified of its obligations by WHD, the employer paid the back wages. “Employers must comply with the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, and provide employees emergency paid sick leave when they meet qualifying conditions that are designed to minimize exposure, prevent the potential spread of the coronavirus and allow employees to care for family members,” said Acting Wage and Hour District Director Debra Wynn, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. “Through outreach and enforcement, the U.S. Department of Labor remains diligent in its efforts to help U.S. employees and employers better understand all the benefits and protections this law provides.” The FFCRA helps the U.S. combat and defeat the workplace effects of the coronavirus by giving tax credits to American businesses with fewer than 500 employees to provide employees with paid leave for certain reasons related to the coronavirus. Please visit WHD’s “Quick Benefits Tips” for information about how much leave workers may qualify to use, and the amounts employers must pay. The law enables employers to provide paid leave reimbursed by tax credits, 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. WHD continues to provide updated information on its website and through extensive outreach efforts to endure that workers and employers have the information they need about the benefits and protections of this new law. The agency also provides additional information on common issues employers and employees face when responding to the coronavirus and its effects on wages and hours worked under the Fair Labor Standards Act and on job-protected leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act at https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic. For more information about the laws enforced by WHD, call 866-4US-WAGE, or visit www.dol.gov/agencies/whd. For further information about the coronavirus, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. WHD’s mission is to promote and achieve compliance with labor standards to protect and enhance the welfare of the nation’s workforce. WHD enforces federal minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping and child labor requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act. WHD also enforces the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act, the Employee Polygraph Protection Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, wage garnishment provisions of the Consumer Credit Protection Act and a number of employment standards and worker protections as provided in several immigration related statutes. Additionally, WHD administers and enforces the prevailing wage requirements of the Davis Bacon Act and the Service Contract Act and other statutes applicable to federal contracts for construction and for the provision of goods and services. The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.
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