For months, truck drivers were on the frontline of Covid. While most of America sheltered in place, truck drivers were putting their lives on the line to deliver the goods we need.
To date, 2.2 million Americans have contracted Covid. 119,000 of those have died.
Several of those who survived have had a long road to a full recovery. Many spent days and weeks in hospitals. For some, recovery takes several more weeks.
What happens if you’re a truck driver who contracts Covid? What happens if you can’t return work for weeks? What will your trucking company do for you? If you’re entitled to vacation and sick pay, you’ll likely get that but what happens once that runs out?
Truck drivers who contract Covid likely aren’t eligible for workman’s compensation, as it does not cover colds or flus, so your hospital bills will not be covered.
Congress passed the Family First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). FFCRA extends paid sick leave but it doesn’t apply to all companies. For example, the business must have more than 50 employees.
Under the FFCRA, an employee qualifies for paid sick time if the employee is unable to work (or unable to telework) due to a need for leave because the employee:
- is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;
- has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine related to COVID-19;
- is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and is seeking a medical diagnosis;
- is caring for an individual subject to an order described in (1) or self-quarantine as described in (2);
- is caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed (or child care provider is unavailable) for reasons related to COVID-19; or
- is experiencing any other substantially-similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Secretaries of Labor and Treasury.
Under FFCRA, “a full-time employee is eligible for 80 hours of leave, and a part-time employee is eligible for the number of hours of leave that the employee works on average over a two-week period,” the Department of Labor states.
In addition to the FFCRA, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Stimulus Act (CARES) was passed to extend unemployment benefits to employees who might not have traditionally been eligible for them. Part-time employees, 1099 employees and even self-employed are entitled to unemployment though the CARES Act.
Independent contractors have typically been exempt from unemployment benefits; however, the CARES Act provides them with unemployment assistance.
Speak to your company’s benefits department to find out what you’re entitled to should you contract Covid.