The laws are changing rapidly in the current pandemic/crisis. Therefore, the legal issues discussed here are subject to constant change. It is best to consult with your counsel concerning any specific legal advice you may need.
As we have written before, all employers that have less than 500 employees are required to provide paid leave for certain COVID-19 related reasons. In determining leave obligations, however, employer should not lose sight of any state or local laws that have been enacted in response to this pandemic. Companies are required to provide their employees the greater of the benefits provided under federal, state or local laws.
States and localities that have passed new or enhanced existing leave laws in response to COVID-19 include:
ARIZONA: the State’s Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 and Earned Sick Time (FAQs) address various issues including employees’ use of accrued sick time for COVID-19 related events.
CALIFORNIA: the State’s Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) – FAQs (FAQs) address various issues including paid sick leave, such as protections for self-quarantine as a result of potential exposure to COVID-19.
Los Angeles, CALIFORNIA: on April 7, 2020, the Mayor signed an Emergency Order (Order) that requires covered employers to provide eligible employees with supplemental paid sick leave for COVID-19-related reasons.
San Diego, CALIFORNIA: the City published Earned Sick Leave COVID-19 Guidelines to remind employers that employees may be eligible for paid sick leave, if they need to take time off from work in situations such as a public health emergency.
San Francisco, CALIFORNIA: the City has issued guidance regarding the use of San Francisco paid sick leave during the current local health emergency.
San Jose, CALIFORNIA: on April 7, 2020, the City enacted the COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave Ordinance (Ordinance), which requires certain private employers to provide temporary sick leave for the duration of the COVID-19 health emergency.
Oakland, CALIFORNIA: the City issued COVID-19-specific guidance to remind employers about its paid sick leave ordinance.
COLORADO: On March 11, 2020, the State issued Colorado’s Health Emergency Leave with Pay Rules (Rules), requiring certain employers to temporarily provide paid sick leave for certain COVID-19 related events.
CONNECTICUT: The State has published COVID-19 FAQs that address a number of topics, including the use of accrued paid sick leave during the pandemic.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: on March 17, 2020, the District of Columbia passed the COVID-19 Response Emergency Amendment Act of 2020, which, among other things, expanded coverage under the District of Columbia Family and Medical Leave Act (DCFMLA). The Act is further supplemented by the COVID-19 Response Supplemental Emergency Amendment Act of 2020.
MASSACHUSETTS: the State published FAQs on employee rights and employer obligations related to COVID-19.
MICHIGAN: Michigan’s Executive Order No. 2020-36 (Order) requires individuals who have had close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19 or displays one or more of the principal symptoms of COVID-19 to remain home.
Minneapolis, MINNESOTA: the City posted guidance and FAQs on its Sick and Safe Time website to explain how its Sick and Safe Time Ordinance is interpreted by the Division during the current pandemic.
NEW JERSEY: the Governor signed into law 2020 Bill Text NJ S.B. 2304 (SB 2304) and 2020 Bill Text NJ S.B. 2374 (SB 2374), expanding the state’s paid sick leave and family leave laws. More information can found in the COVID-19 FAQs.
NEW YORK: the State’s emergency legislation (2020 Ch. 25) provides temporary paid sick leave for employees subject to a mandatory or precautionary quarantine or isolation order due to COVID-19. An amendment was also adopted on an emergency basis to clarify that, under the NY PFL, employees may take family leave to care for a family member diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus.
OREGON: effective March 18, 2020, a temporary administrative order expands the Oregon Family Leave Act (OFLA) to allow employees to take leave for certain COVID-19 related events. The Bureau of Labor and Industries Offices also released FAQs specific to the coronavirus.
Philadelphia, PENNSYLVANIA: effective March 16, 2020, Philadelphia’s paid sick leave law supplementary regulations allow for expanded use of accrued leave for certain employees.
RHODE ISLAND: the State issued a COVID-19 Workplace Fact Sheet, alerting employees that they may be eligible for temporary disability or family caregiver insurance benefits for certain COVID-19 related events.
VERMONT: the State has published COVID-19 FAQs.
WASHINGTON: the State has published Paid Sick Leave and Coronavirus (COVID-19) Common Questions.
Seattle, WASHINGTON: effective March 18, 2020, the City’s amendments to its Paid Sick and Safe Time (PSST) allow employees to use their PSST for qualified reasons. The City also updated its COVID-19 Question and Answer resource to clarify how the PSST applies for the COVID-19 public emergency.
State and local activity on paid leave issues will continue to evolve. If you are facing a request for leave relating to the current pandemic, be sure to examine your obligations under federal, state and local laws.