These are difficult times and we face difficult decision. What if you are drawing unemployment at the Federal and State level – taking home $700 – just shy of $1,000 per week — your employer calls you back to work – must you go? The answer is not entirely clear in Michigan – but it appears to be no – so long as the Shelter in Place Order is in effect. If you refuse to return, however, your employer may cancel your healthcare and other benefits.

To prevent this, you should know you have the right to seek benefits under the Families First Act. There are two components – Sick Leave under the EPSLA, followed by Medical Leave under the EFMLEA. If, however, you are a healthcare provider (basically meaning anyone who works for a doctor or at a health care facility) your employer can exclude you from these benefits. For the rest of us – if you are sheltering in place, have COVID, been exposed or caring for someone with COVID-19 (to get the specifics go to https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-employee-paid-leave ) you can request and are entitled to 10 days paid sick leave at the lesser of your regular pay or $511 per day. After those 10 days, if you are staying home to care for a minor child due to the COVID-19 crises, you have the right for up to 10 weeks of leave, paid at the lesser 2/3 of your regular pay or $200 per day. The important point here is that if you elect these benefits your healthcare and other benefits continue and are protected. What I’ve discovered during this COVID-19 insanity – is that most employees are not even aware that the EPSLA and EFMLEA rights are available.

Now to the more somber issue. What if my job is not there to go back to? What about the bills when the money runs out? The new $3 trillion package (passed on Friday by the House) that will be debated by Congress over the next week includes potentially up to $6,000 per family. Will this come to pass? Answer: I have no idea. My guess is – there will be some extension of the PUD federal unemployment benefit or another stipend paid out – but that decision is left for the politicians to decide. (Doesn’t that just make you feel great!). My take – you need to develop your battle plan on the assumption that ultimately – the government does not provide the assistance you need, and the Pandemic causes a long-term reduction in your income. Plan for the worse and hope for the best! To gain knowledge as to your plan – I suggest you attend our FREE Webinar – this Wednesday, May 20th at 6:30 PM. To register, click the link below. As an added benefit, those who attend will receive a free copy of my book Dump Your Debt.

Things are moving in the right direction – and let’s hope it continues. One thing for sure – warmer weather and sunshine is on its way – and not even an evil virus can stop that!

Stay safe,

Ken

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