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State and City-Specific Leaves Update

EverythingHR Staff | 04/14/2020 | Blog, Featured


Paid Sick Leave: Paid sick leave can be used for absences due to illness, the diagnosis, care or treatment of an existing health condition or preventative care for the employee or the employee’s family member. The Labor Commissioner’s office has confirmed that preventative care may include self-quarantine as a result of potential exposure to COVID-19 if quarantine is recommended by civil authorities. In addition, there may be other situations where an employee may exercise their right to take paid sick leave, or an employer may allow paid sick leave for preventative care. For example, where there has been exposure to COVID-19 or where the worker has traveled to a high-risk area. https://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/2019-Novel-Coronavirus.htm

Paid Family Leave: The state’s PFL program provides up to six weeks of paid leave to care for a seriously ill family member, among other reasons. Employees do not have to complete any waiting period for PFL, which increases to eight weeks for claims beginning on or after July 1. The Employment Development Department (EDD) has confirmed that PFL benefits are available to eligible employees unable to work because they have to care for an ill or quarantined family member due to COVID-19 (if certified by a medical professional). https://edd.ca.gov/about_edd/coronavirus-2019.htm

Emeryville has released a ‘reminder’ including guidance regarding its paid sick leave law in the wake of COVID-19. http://www.ci.emeryville.ca.us/DocumentCenter/View/12679/Emeryville-PSL-GuidanceCoronavirus-final

Los Angeles: The Los Angeles City Council approved an ordinance requiring employers with employees working in the city to provide COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave (SPSL) to those employed from Feb. 3 through March 4, 2020. The mayor is expected to sign the measure before the April 7 deadline. The ordinance takes effect immediately upon signature and sunsets at the end of 2020 unless the city council extends it. http://clkrep.lacity.org/onlinedocs/2020/20-0147-s39_ord_draft_03-27-20.pdf

Oakland has released guidance for employers regarding its paid sick leave law in the wake of COVID-19.https://cao-94612.s3.amazonaws.com/documents/3-12-20_Guidance-to-employees-and-employers-_-COVID-19-KB-with-logo.pdf

San Francisco: Employers may not require a doctor’s note or other documentation for the use of paid sick leave taken pursuant to the Paid Sick Leave Ordinance during the duration of the “Local Health Emergency regarding Novel Coronavirus Disease 2019.” The Office of Labor Standards Enforcement (OLSE) has issued guidelines for when employers must allow covered employees to use accrued sick leave under the Paid Sick Leave Ordinance, including quarantine, falling within the definition of a “vulnerable population,” temporarily shutdowns in response to a public health or other public official’s recommendation, and caring for a family member. https://sfgov.org/olse/san-francisco-paid-sick-leave-coronavirus


Any employer engaged in the field of leisure and hospitality, food services, child care, education at all levels (including related services, including but not limited to cafeterias and transportation to, from, and on campuses), retail establishments that sell groceries, home health care (working with elderly, disabled, ill, or otherwise high-risk individuals), operating a nursing home, or operating a community living facility shall provide up to four days of paid sick leave for an employee (A) with flu-like symptoms and (B) who is being tested for COVID-19. Employees in quarantine or isolation, under instruction from a healthcare provider,

or due to the risk of having COVID-19 are eligible for the leave. The rules do not require additional paid leave if an employer’s existing paid leave policy would apply. However, an employee who has exhausted paid leave under the employer’s current policy is entitled to additional four days under the rules. https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/sites/default/files/7%20CCR%201103-10%20Colorado%20Health%20Emergency%20Leave%20with%20Pay%20%28%E2%80%9CColorado%20HELP%E2%80%9D%29%20Rules%20%28Temporary%20Rule%20effective%20March%2011%2C%202020%2C%20Amended%20March%2026%2C%202020%29%20%282%29.pdf


Cook County released guidance/FAQs on its Earned Sick Leave (ESL) Ordinance and COVID-19, basically verifying that a covered employer must grant ESL if they close their business due to a public official declaring a health emergency, for time taken by an employee due to their child’s school or place of care being closed due to a due to a public official declaring a health emergency, and for time taken for an employee’s illness or treatment due to COVID-19. https://www.cookcountyil.gov/service/cook-county-earned-sick-leave-ordinance-and-covid-19

The city of Chicago has issued a “Know Your Rights/Frequently Asked Questions” page about Chicago’s Paid Sick Leave ordinance related to COVID-19, which clarifies employee rights under the law. https://www.chicago.gov/content/dam/city/depts/bacp/general/COVID-19/FAQs%20KnowYourRtsfinal_3-26-20v2.pdf


On April 3, 2020, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order stipulating that employers must treat any employee who stays home after testing positive for COVID-19 or displays one of the virus’ principal symptoms OR have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or displayed its principal systems as if he or she were taking medical leave under the state’s Paid Medical Leave Act. https://content.govdelivery.com/attachments/MIEOG/2020/04/03/file_attachments/1418576/EO%202020-36.pdf


The City of Duluth has released guidance and an FAQ stipulating that the following are protected activities under the City’s Earned Sick and Safe Time (ESST) ordinance: Coronavirus screening;-providing or receiving care due to Coronavirus symptoms or infection;-and testing or quarantine following close personal contact with a Coronavirus infected or symptomatic person. https://duluthmn.gov/media/9458/covid19-info.pdf

Similarly, Minneapolis has released guidance and an FAQ stipulating that an employee’s accrued sick and safe time hours are legally protected for their use due to Coronavirus symptoms, testing or infection under the City’s Sick and Safe Time Ordinance. http://sicktimeinfo.minneapolismn.gov/uploads/9/6/3/1/96313024/covid-19_and_sst_3_18_20.pdf


Nevada’s Labor Commissioner issued COVID-19 leave guidance under Nevada’s new paid leave law (that became effective on January 1, 2020), stipulating that if an employee is subject to a mandatory government quarantine by a state, federal, or local agency and is unable to report to work, the employer should not count the mandatory government quarantine time as leave that is counted against the employee or taken from their leave balance. The Guidance further states that because employees may not be accruing any type of leave or pay while under a mandatory government quarantine situation, this type of separation and/or leave from employment should not be counted against them. http://labor.nv.gov/uploadedFiles/labornvgov/content/Employer/COVID-19 Leave Guidance.pdf

New Jersey

New Jersey enacted legislation that creates the “Temporary Lost Wage Unemployment Program” to allow those affected by COVID-19 to recoup wages lost due to due to: (a) the individual’s absence from work due to the need to care for a family member; (b) the individual’s absence from work due to the illness of the individual; or (c)the individual’s absence from work due to a school or childcare facility being closed. The Program will also assist employers to pay workers who are under quarantine. https://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2020/Bills/A4000/3846_I1.HTM

New Jersey also enacted legislation that expands the state’s earned sick leave law to permit the use of earned sick time for isolation or quarantine recommended or ordered by a provider or public health official as a result of suspected exposure to a communicable disease, or to care for a family member under recommended or ordered isolation or quarantine. https://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2020/Bills/S2500/2304_I1.HTM

New York

New York enacted legislation that requires any employer with employers with between 11 and 99 employees OR employers with ten or fewer employees that have a net income of greater than one million dollars in the previous tax year, to provide any employee who is subject to a precautionary or mandatory order of quarantine or isolation issued by the state, the department of health, local board of health, or any governmental entity duly authorized to issue such order due to COVID-19, at least 5 days of paid sick leave and unpaid leave until the termination of any mandatory or precautionary order of quarantine or isolation. Any public employers OR any employers with 100 or more employees must provide 14 days of paid sick leave during the period of any mandatory or precautionary order of quarantine or isolation. https://nyassembly.gov/leg/?default_fld=&leg_video=&bn=A10153&term=2019&Text=Y

Washington State

Washington has issued guidance and common questions on its paid sick leave law and COVID-19. The guidance clarifies that an employee can use accrued paid sick leave if their place of business is shut down by a public official due to COVID-19. Employees can use accrued paid sick leave if their child’s school or place of care is closed due to COVID-19. An employer cannot require an employee to work from home instead of using their accrued paid sick leave. https://lni.wa.gov/agency/outreach/paid-sick-leave-and-coronavirus-covid-19-common-questions

Seattle’s City Council amended its Paid Sick and Safe Time (PSST) Ordinance to allow paid leave for employees when any of their family member’s school or place of care has been closed for any reason. Prior to this amendment, an employee was only granted paid leave when their child’s place of school or care was closed AND the closing had to be due to the order of a public health official for a health-related reason. Also, employers with 250 or more full-time employees must provide paid leave to employees when their place of business has been closed for any health or safety reason. Employees accrue paid leave at one hour per every 30 hours worked. The changes became effective March 18, 2020. https://www.seattle.gov/laborstandards/ordinances/paid-sick-and-safe-time



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