PORTLAND, OR – After an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD), three Oregon agricultural operators will pay a collective $11,418 in back wages after wrongly denying paid sick leave to employees whose healthcare providers advised them to self-quarantine following potential coronavirus exposures.

WHD investigators found Coleman Agriculture Inc. in Gervais, St. Joseph Orchard Inc. in McMinnville and J Farms LLC in Amity failed to provide two weeks of paid sick leave to employees as the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) requires. Coleman Agriculture Inc. paid seven employees a total of $8,878, St. Joseph Orchard Inc. paid four employees a total of $1,820 and J Farms LLC paid one employee $720.

“Employers must provide employees protected under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act the leave and pay the law requires,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Thomas Silva, in Portland, Oregon. “The U.S. Department of Labor stands ready to assist employers that may not fully understand their responsibilities to provide paid leave under this law. We provide extensive outreach and encourage everyone to reach out to our office and to use our website to ensure that they fully understand the benefits and protections required under this law.”

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 either to provide employees with paid leave for the employee’s own health needs or to care for family members. Please visit WHD’s “Quick Benefits Tips” for information about how much leave workers may qualify to use, and the wages 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 ensure 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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