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Caregivers May Be Eligible for Paid Leave Under CARES Act

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, families across the country are suffering unimaginable hardships. However, nowhere has been hit as hard by COVID-19 as New York City. Whether it be illness, job loss, lack of childcare or loss of a loved one, all New Yorkers have been affected by the virus in one way or another.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been hard for all parents with children living at home. However, parents with children who live with one or more disabilities are in an even more challenging position. While many businesses are closed, some essential employees must still go into work, and many others are working from home. For those caring for a child with a disability, this can present a difficult situation, as schools, daycares and other organizations that provide daytime activities for adults with disabilities are closed. Thankfully, under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), parents of adult children with disabilities may be able to take paid leave to care for their children.

The CARES Act was enacted to provide assistance to citizens as they deal with the economic wrath of the novel coronavirus. Among the numerous provisions of the act is one that allows workers who are parents to obtain paid leave if they are unable to go into work due to COVID-19-related closures, such as schools and daycares.

Initially, the bill was silent on whether parents of adult children who needed to take time off to care for their children could qualify for paid leave under the CARES Act. However, according to a rule released by the Department of Labor, the definition of “son or daughter” includes children “18 years of age or older and incapable of self-care because of a mental or physical disability.” Thus, parents may qualify for paid leave regardless of their child’s age, if the child is unable to care for themselves.

The CARES Act provides up to 14 weeks of paid leave through a combination of sick leave and family leave to workers who are unable to come to work because of the effects of COVID-19. Notably, the Act also covers parents who are unable to work remotely due to the effects of the virus. Currently, the Act applies to employers with 500 or fewer employees and certain public employees; however, there is some leeway given to healthcare providers, emergency responders and companies with fewer than 50 employees to deny leave.

At Littman Krooks, we are working remotely to answer all of your questions and to help you navigate through these challenging times. We at Littman Krooks understand that COVID-19 raises questions for individuals with disabilities and their families. Our office is functioning remotely throughout the outbreak. We are here to answer any questions. Please reach out to us if we may be of assistance.