Louisiana Seafood Processor Failed to Pay 55 Workers Quarantined with COVID-19

A Louisiana seafood processor has been forced to pay nearly $43,000 in back wages to 55 workers it failed to pay under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).

According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD), Shirley’s Crawfish Pad LLC and Crawfish Processing, LLC in Marksville, Louisiana failed to pay 55 workers sick leave after they were forced to take time off due to COVID-19 quarantine rules. Some of the workers had tested positive for the coronavirus, and a healthcare provider ordered the workers and their coworkers to quarantine.

Under the EPSLA, employers are required to offer paid sick leave to employees who are forced to take time off due to a positive COVID-19 test, or if they have been ordered to quarantine due to COVID-19 exposure. Under the FFCRA, businesses with fewer than 500 employees are given tax credits to provide those employees with paid leave for their own health, or to care for sick family members.

“The Families First Coronavirus Response Act is critical to ensuring the safety of workers and the public. It provides a way for employers to meet their responsibility to protect workers, including those employed in the nation’s food supply system, and to take all necessary measures to ensure they are not working while potentially infected with the coronavirus and putting their co-workers and customers at risk,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Troy Mouton. “Employers and employees who have questions about their obligations and rights under the law should contact their nearest Wage and Hour Division or review the Division’s coronavirus resources online for more information.

Unfortunately, the FFCRA is currently set to expire on December 31. Although Congress is working on a new coronavirus relief package, it is unclear whether that will include an extension of the current protections offered to workers. Republican senators – led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel (K) – have thus far only insisted that the new bill must include provisions to protect employers and companies from being sued by workers who contract COVID-19 while working.

Big Easy Magazine reached out to the owner of Shirley’s Crawfish Pad LLC and Crawfish Processing LLC but had not received a response at the time of publishing.

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