The Pikeville City Commission approved a municipal order Monday relating to a recent law passed by Congress to provide relief to employees across the country during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act provides 80 hours of paid sick leave for full-time employees. The law states that part-time employees are entitled to a number of hours equal to the number of hours that the employee works on average over a two-week period.

The law was signed into law on March 18, and it was the second major legislative initiative to address COVID-19, with the first being signed on March 6 to provide emergency funding relief for domestic and global efforts, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. The law also addresses insurance coverage of coronavirus testing, nutrition assistance and unemployment benefits.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act established a federal emergency paid leave benefits program to provide the payments to employees needing to take the sick leave, and it required all employers to to provide the paid sick leave to their employees.

During its meeting Monday, the Pikeville City Commission approved a municipal order that allows all employees within the city’s jurisdiction to be affected by the new law.

Pikeville City Manager Philip Elswick said the law helps all employees because its guaranteed paid sick leave gives employees additional benefits in case they get sick from COVID-19 and must self-isolate or quarantine themselves. The benefits, he said, also help people who may need to provide childcare.

“With state government and federal governments closing and daycares and schools being closed as well, that is an additional benefit to employees,” Elswick said.

The emergency paid sick leave policy is applicable to private businesses with less than 500 employees and all public employers, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Paid sick leave is available for immediate use and does not require a waiting period or accrual. Benefits are not retroactive, and paid sick time shall not carry over from one year to the next. An employer may require that after the first workday or portion thereof an employee receives such leave, an employee follow reasonable notice procedures in order to continue receiving such paid sick time, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

On March 11, the World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) a global pandemic. Gov. Andy Beshear ordered for all non-life-sustaining businesses to close to in-person service, effective March 26.

According to the governor’s office, the businesses that could stay open include: grocery stores, drug stores and pharmacies, banks, hardware stores, agricultural operations, gas stations, media, businesses needed for transportation, logistics, shipping, delivery and pick-up, housing, building and construction, laundry, financial services, home-based care and services, professional services, manufacturing and other businesses “key to national interests or life-sustaining good or services and those covered under the federal critical infrastructure sector.”

For the full list of Gov. Andy Beshear’s actions to address the spread of COVID-19, visit, governor.ky.gov/covid19.

For all up-to-date information on Kentucky COVID-19 cases, visit, kycovid19.ky.gov.

For all up-to-date information on COVID-19, visit the CDC’s website at, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/.

The Pike County Health Department is located at 119 River Drive, and it can be reached at, (606) 437-5500, or online at, https://www.pikecountyhealth.com/v4i/.

Kentuckians can call the state’s COVID-19 hotline, 1-(800)722-5725, for questions or additional help.